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News & Highlights

Research Highlights

Published: Thu, 10/04/2018 - 9:15am

JILA researchers are using lasers to control chemical reactions at the quantum level. This control brings new insights to our understanding of reaction pathways, and serves as a proof-of-principle that similar techniques could revolutionize our study of chemical processes.

In the vast stretches between solar systems, heat does not flow and sound does not exist. Action seems to stop, but only if you don’t look long enough.

Violent and chaotic actions occur in the long stretches of outer space. These chemical reactions between radicals and ions are the same reactions underlying the burn of a flame and floating the ozone above our planet. But they’re easy to miss in outer space because they’re very rare.

“It’s very low density in the interstellar medium, so the probability of seeing another atom or molecule is very low,” said JILA Fellow Dr. Heather Lewandowski. “They could go for kilometers before seeing another particle.”

And when meetings are that rare, the particles must be reactive. “If you do run into another particle, you want to have a high probability of reaction if you are ever going to react,” said Lewandowski.

Radicals and ions are...

Published: Mar 13, 2014

Quantum chaos just showed up in an ultracold gas of erbium atoms, and the Bohn theory group knows why. Theorists expect quantum chaos to appear...

Published: Mar 05, 2014

There’s exciting news from JILA’s ultracold molecule collaboration. The Jin, Ye, Holland, and Rey groups have come up with new theory (verified by...

Published: Feb 26, 2014

When Andy Almand-Hunter and his colleagues in the Cundiff group shined a laser on a sample of gallium arsenide (GaAs), the last thing they were...

Published: Feb 04, 2014

The groups of Fellow Adjoint Markus Raschke and Fellow Tom Perkins joined forces recently to shine light onto a bacterial membrane protein called...

Published: Feb 03, 2014

Fellows Mitch Begelman and Phil Armitage have just solved the 40-year old mystery of what causes the gas of stellar debris surrounding black holes...

Published: Jan 29, 2014

Black holes have a new item on their dinner menu: a three-dimensional glowing sphere of stellar debris that looks like a star. The sphere provides...

Published: Jan 28, 2014

Real-world quantum mechanics may not always work exactly like the simple picture presented in textbooks, according to observations made by...

Published: Jan 22, 2014

JILA and NIST labs are well on the way to creating astonishingly accurate optical atomic clocks based on the neutral atoms strontium (Sr) and...

Published: Jan 14, 2014

Capturing and controlling the fleeting dance of electrons as they rearrange during a chemical reaction has been a long-standing challenge in...

Published: Jan 13, 2014

The Cornell and Jin groups have just met the challenge of creating and studying an extremely strongly interacting Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC)....

Published: Dec 06, 2013

Physicists wonder about some pretty strange things. For instance, one burning question is: How round is the electron? While the simplest picture...

Published: Oct 11, 2013

Research associate Tom Purdy and his colleagues in the Regal group have just built an even better miniature light-powered machine that can now...

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