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Atomic and Molecular Physics

Content About: Atomic and Molecular Physics

Published: 11/16/2017 - 4:38pm Type of Content: News

JILA Fellows Jun Ye and Deborah Jin (1968 to 2016) have been named Highly Cited Researchers for 2017 by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters). 

The list of Highly Cited Researchers, published annually since 2014, recognizes scientists across the world with the greatest number (top 1%) of highly cited publications. The 2017 list covers the period from 2006 through 2016...

Published: 10/05/2017 - 12:38pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Imagine A Future . . . The International Moon Station team is busy on the Moon’s surface using sensitive detectors of gravity and magnetic and electric fields looking for underground water-rich materials, iron-containing ores, and other raw materials required for building a year-round Moon station. The station’s mission: launching colonists and supplies to Mars for colonization. Meanwhile,...

Published: 10/05/2017 - 12:20pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Newly minted JILA Ph.D. Catherine Klauss and her colleagues in the Jin and Cornell group decided to see what would happen to a Bose-Einstein condensate of Rubidium-85 (85Rb) atoms if they suddenly threw the whole experiment wildly out of equilibrium by quickly lowering the magnetic field through a Feshbach resonance.1 Theoretically, this maneuver is predicted to make the atoms infinitely...

Published: 09/07/2017 - 1:15pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Researchers at JILA and around the world are starting a grand adventure of precisely controlling the internal and external quantum states of ultracold molecules after years of intense experimental and theoretical study. Such control of small molecules, which are the most complex quantum systems that can currently be completely understood from the principles of quantum mechanics, will allow...

Published: 08/02/2017 - 1:51pm Type of Content: News

Ana Maria Rey has been appointed a NIST Fellow as of August 21,2017 by the Acting Director of NIST. JILA is a research and training partnership between the University of Colorado and NIST, and Ana Maria is one of the several JILA Fellows who are NIST employees. Ana Maria was named a NIST Fellow in recognition of her world-leading program in quantum theory, her pioneering work in quantum many-...

Published: 06/20/2017 - 11:40am Type of Content: News

Ana Maria Rey has been named the winner of the 2017 Alexander Cruickshank Award in Atomic Physics by the Gordon Research Conferences. The award recognizes international leadership and impact in the organization’s main areas of biological, chemical, and physical sciences. It was presented to Rey by the Atomic Physics Gordon Research Conference “From Quantum Control to Tests of Fundamental...

Published: 01/10/2017 - 10:00am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin and Katharine Gebbie are two of 10 prominent scientists featured in "Gone in 2016: Notable Women in Science and Technology" written by Maia Weinstock. The article appeared online in Scientific American blogs on December 28, 2016. Jin, who died on September 15, 2016 at age 47, was a visionary researcher in ultracold atomic physics. Gebbie, who died on August 17 at age 84,...

Published: 12/21/2016 - 11:09am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Research associate Shimon Kolkowitz and his colleagues in the Ye group and Rey theory group have developed a powerful new way to experimentally simulate the complex behavior of electrons in solids. In these experiments, the team uses its strontium lattice optical clock not to track time, but to take advantage of the ultracold atoms in the clock mimicking the quantum behavior of electrons in a...

Published: 12/19/2016 - 12:01pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Deborah Jin, Jun Ye, and their students wrote a review during the summer of 2016 for Nature Physics highlighting the accomplishments and future directions of the relatively new field of ultracold-molecule research. The field was pioneered by the group’s creation of the world’s first gas of ultracold potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in 2008.

The molecules were made by first creating...

Published: 12/12/2016 - 8:00am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Rey and Ye groups discovered the strange rules of quantum baseball earlier this year. But now, quantum baseball games happen faster, and players (dipolar particles) are no longer free to move or stand wherever they want. Players must not only be stronger to jump and catch the balls (photons), but also more organized. At the same time, they must be good spinners. And, only a small amount of...

Published: 11/11/2016 - 3:12pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

For a long time, there’s been a mystery concerning how tiny interactions between individual atoms could lead to really big changes in a whole cloud of independent-minded particles. The reason this behavior is mysterious is that the atoms interact weakly, and only when they are very close to each other. Yet, the atoms clear across the cloud seem to know when it’s time to participate in some big...

Published: 10/27/2016 - 12:06pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Using frequency comb spectroscopy, the Ye group has directly observed transient intermediate steps in a chemical reaction that plays a key role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, and chemistry in the interstellar medium. The group was able to make this first-ever measurement because frequency combs generate a wide range of laser wavelengths in ultrafast pulses. These pulses made it possible...

Published: 09/26/2016 - 11:55am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Exciting new theory from the Rey group reveals the profound effects of electron interactions on the flow of electric currents in metals. Controlling currents of strongly interacting electrons is critical to the development of tomorrow’s advanced microelectronics systems, including spintronics devices that will process data faster, use less power than today’s technology, and operate in...

Published: 09/21/2016 - 11:28am Type of Content: News

Fellows Jun Ye and Deborah Jin (1968–2016) have been named Highly Cited Researchers for 2016 by Thomson Reuters. Highly Cited Researchers is an annual list that recognizes leading researchers from around the world based on an analysis of their research publications The 2016 list recognizes the most-cited authors of research publications in the period 2004 through 2014. Ye and Jin are two of...

Published: 09/19/2016 - 7:25am Type of Content: News

Note: Please read some remembrances here.

Deborah Jin passed away September 15, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 47. Jin was an internationally renowned physicist and Fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Professor Adjunct in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Fellow of JILA, a joint institute...

Published: 07/28/2016 - 1:57pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Newly minted Ph.D. Ming-Guang Hu and his colleagues in the Jin and Cornell groups recently investigated immersing an impurity in a quantum bath consisting of a Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC. The researchers expected the strong impurity-boson interactions to “dress” the impurity, i.e., cause it to get bigger and heavier. In the experiment, dressing the impurity resulted in it becoming a...

Published: 06/20/2016 - 10:12am Type of Content: News

Adam Kaufman has been awarded the 2016 DAMOP Thesis Prize for his outstanding thesis research on assembling neutral atoms in optical tweezers, work conducted in the Regal group at JILA. As part of this  work, Kaufman and his coworkers developed an experiment that allowed the team to use laser cooling to assemble arrays of ground-state neutral atoms in optical tweezers. First, the team...

Published: 05/26/2016 - 1:00pm Type of Content: News

Former JILAn Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan is one of two 2016 Outstanding Graduates for Service in the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. Gopalakrishnan graduated from CU on May 7, 2016, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering physics. As part of her 5-year program of study, she spent two years working with the magnetics group in the Kapteyn/...

Published: 05/04/2016 - 11:26am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group just solved a major problem for using molecular fingerprinting techniques to identify large, complex molecules: The researchers used an infrared (IR) frequency comb laser to identify four different large or complicated molecules. The IR laser-light absorption technique worked well for the first time with these larger molecules because the group combined it with buffer gas...

Published: 04/21/2016 - 8:24am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Move over, single-atom laser cooling! The Holland theory group has just come up with a stunning idea for a new kind of laser cooling for use with ensembles of atoms that all “talk” to each other. In other words, the theory looks at laser cooling not from the perspective of cooling a single atom, but rather from the perspective of many atoms working together to rapidly cool themselves to a...

Published: 04/20/2016 - 1:04pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The old JILA molecule factory (built in 2002) produced the world’s first ultracold polar molecules [potassium-rubidium (KRb)] in 2008. The old factory has been used since then for ultracold chemistry investigations and studies of the quantum behavior of ultracold molecules and the atoms that form them. The Jin-Ye group, which runs the molecule factory, is now wrapping up operations in the old...

Published: 03/31/2016 - 10:20am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye and Rey groups have discovered the strange rules of quantum baseball in which strontium (Sr) atoms are the players, and photons of light are the balls. The balls control the players by not only getting the atoms excited, but also working together. The players coordinate throwing and catching the balls. While this is going on, the balls can change the state of the players! Sometimes the...

Published: 01/28/2016 - 7:52am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Rey and Ye groups are in the midst of an extended collaboration on using the Ye group’s strontium (Sr) lattice clock for studies of spin-orbit coupling in pancake-like layers of cold Sr atoms. Spin-orbit coupling means an atom’s motion is correlated with its spin. It occurs in everyday materials when negatively charged electrons move in response to electromagnetic fields inside a crystal....

Published: 12/16/2015 - 12:31pm Type of Content: News

President Obama has selected JILA Fellow Jun Ye of NIST's Quantum Physics Division to receive a 2015 Presidential Rank Award. The award cited Ye's work advancing "the frontier of light-matter interaction and focusing on precision measurement, quantum physics and ultracold matter, optical frequency metrology, and ultrafast science."

The Presidential Rank Awards honor a select group...

Published: 11/06/2015 - 7:59am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

JILA’s cold molecule collaboration (Jin and Ye Groups, with theory support from the Rey Group) recently made a breakthrough in its efforts to use ultracold polar molecules to study the complex physics of large numbers of interacting quantum particles. By closely packing the molecules into a 3D optical lattice (a sort of “crystal of light”), the team was able to create the first “highly...

Published: 11/02/2015 - 9:15am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Regal and Rey groups have come up with a novel way to generate and propagate quantum entanglement [1], a key feature required for quantum computing. Quantum computing requires that bits of information called qubits be moved from one location to another, be available to interact in prescribed ways, and then be isolated for storage or subsequent interactions. The group showed that single...

Published: 10/21/2015 - 8:02am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Scientists often use ultracold atoms to study the behavior of atoms and electrons in solids and liquids (a.k.a. condensed matter). Their goal is to uncover microscopic quantum behavior of these condensed matter systems and develop a controlled environment to model materials with new and advanced functionality.

In an exciting new theory investigation, Fellow Ana Maria Rey and research...

Published: 10/08/2015 - 12:54pm Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin and Jun Ye are Highly Cited Researchers for 2015, according to the Thomas Reuters website. The website states, "Highly Cited Researchers 2015 represents some of world’s most influential scientific minds. About three thousand researchers earned this distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers—...

Published: 10/05/2015 - 9:56am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

It took Eric Cornell three years to build JILA’s first Top Trap with his own two hands in the lab. The innovative trap relied primarily on magnetic fields and gravity to trap ultracold atoms. In 1995, Cornell and his colleagues used the Top Trap to make the world’s first Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), an achievement that earned Cornell and Carl Wieman the Nobel Prize in 2001.

The Nobel...

Published: 08/10/2015 - 8:22am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Compact and transportable optical lattices are coming soon to a laboratory near you, thanks to the Anderson group and its spin-off company, ColdQuanta. A new robust on-chip lattice system (which measures 2.3 cm on a side) is now commercially available. The chip comes with a miniature vacuum system, lasers, and mounting platform.

Graduate student Cameron Straatsma and his colleagues...

Published: 07/20/2015 - 8:16am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin has been selected as chair-elect of the American Physical Society (APS) Nominating Committee. Beginning January 1, 2016, she will serve one year as Chair Elect, a year as Chair, and a year as Past Chair of the committee. The committee is charged with preparing a slate of at least two candidates for the positions of Vice President, Treasurer, Chair Elect of the Nominating Committee...

Published: 07/06/2015 - 10:24am Type of Content: News

Margaret Murnane was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College Dublin on June 26, 2015. The entire ceremony was conducted in Latin and included a lively presentation of Murnane's accomplishments in laser science. It began, "Lucida diei patefacere res omnes quae oculis videantur," or "We see and understand the world through light," the words spoken by Murnane to open her lecture at the...

Published: 07/01/2015 - 11:00am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

A grand challenge of ultracold physics is figuring out how fermions become bosons. This is an important question because the tiniest quantum particles of matter are all fermions. However, these fermions can form larger chunks of matter, such as atoms and molecules, which can be either fermions or bosons.

An interesting feature of fermions and bosons is that they behave very differently...

Published: 04/27/2015 - 10:46am Type of Content: News

JILA Fellow and University of Colorado Distinguished Professor of Physics Margaret Murnane has been elected to the American Philosophical Society in Class 1: Mathematical and Physical Sciences. She received the honor in April 2015.

The American Philosophical Society was  founded in 1743 and is the first "learned" society of United States. Tom Cech is currently a...

Published: 04/21/2015 - 9:16am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group has just improved the accuracy of the world’s best optical atomic clock by another factor of three and set a new record for clock stability. The accuracy and stability of the improved strontium lattice optical clocks is now about 2 x 10-18, or the equivalent of not varying from perfect time by more than one second in 15 billion years—more than the age of the Universe. Clocks like...

Published: 04/20/2015 - 1:12pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye Group recently investigated what first appeared to be a “bug” in an experiment and made an unexpected discovery about a new way to generate high-harmonic light using molecular gases rather than gases of noble atoms.

Graduate student Craig Benko and his colleagues in the Ye group were studying the interaction of light from an extreme ultraviolet (XUV) frequency comb with molecules...

Published: 04/01/2015 - 12:21pm Type of Content: News

JILA graduate students Stephen Okoniewski (Perkins group), Jake Pettine (Nesbitt group), and Lindsay Sonderhouse (Ye group) have won coveted 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, NSF announced March 31. The five-year Graduate Research Fellowships provide three years of support, with a per-year stipend of $34,000 and cost of education allowance of $12,000. Tuition and...

Published: 03/30/2015 - 9:44am Type of Content: News

Ana Maria Rey has been awarded an APS Fellowship by the American Physical Society. The award cited "her pioneering research on developing fundamental understanding and control of novel quantum systems and finding applications for a wide range of scientific fields including quantum metrology and the emerging interface between Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics, condensed matter, and quantum...

Published: 03/02/2015 - 8:09am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The photoelectric effect has been well known since the publication of Albert Einstein’s 1905 paper explaining that quantized particles of light can stimulate the emission of electrons from materials. The nature of this quantum mechanical effect is closely related to the question how much time it might take for an electron to leave a material such as a helium atom. The exciting news at JILA is...

Published: 02/27/2015 - 11:36am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When the Rey theory group first modeled a quantum system at JILA, it investigated the interactions of strontium atoms in the Ye group’s strontium-lattice clock. The quantum behavior of these collective interactions was relatively simple to model. However, the group has now successfully tackled some more complicated systems, including the ultracold polar KRb molecule experiment run by the Jin...

Published: 11/13/2014 - 2:56pm Type of Content: Video Gallery

JILA Fellow Dana Anderson was one of six awardees of the 2014 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research. The prestigious award & celebration:

Recognizes the achievement and global impact of some of Colorado’s top federal scientists and the leadership and excellence of the state’s federal  labs Provides a unique opportunity to connect with Colorado’s leading scientists, lab...
Published: 11/03/2014 - 11:29am Type of Content: News

At the nearby University of Colorado Boulder [Ye Lab] is a clock even more precise than the [clock used for the U.S. Time standard].

At the heart of this new clock is the element strontium. Inside a small chamber, the strontium atoms are suspended in a lattice of crisscrossing laser beams. Researchers then give them a little ping, like ringing a bell. The strontium vibrates at an...

Published: 10/31/2014 - 7:40am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

New theory describing the spin behavior of ultracold polar molecules is opening the door to explorations of exciting, new physics in JILA’s cold molecular lab, operated by the Jin and Ye groups. According to the Rey theory group and its collaborators, ultracold dipolar molecules can do even more interesting things than swapping spins. For instance, spin swapping occurs naturally when ultracold...

Published: 10/14/2014 - 10:05am Type of Content: News

Fellow Dana Anderson has won a CO-LABS 2014 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research in Foundational Technology. Anderson’s work in the commercialization of cold-atom technology also received an Honorable Mention for the development of a strong public/private partnership.

Anderson will be recognized on November 12 when CO-LABS and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy host a night at the...

Published: 10/08/2014 - 9:04am Type of Content: News

Fellow Margaret Murnane has won a Moore Experimental Investigator in Quantum Materials Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Palo Alto, CA). The award is part of the foundation’s $90 million Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative. It is designed to facilitate scientific breakthroughs by giving Murnane and other awardees the opportunity to take risks, collaborate with...

Published: 08/19/2014 - 11:34am Type of Content: News

Graduate student Adam Kaufman received one of the poster prizes awarded at this year's International Conference on Atomic Physics in Washington DC.  His poster was entitled:  "Atomic Hong-Ou-Mandel effect in tunnel-coupled optical tweezers".

Published: 08/18/2014 - 7:47am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Symmetries described by SU(N) group theory made it possible for physicists in the 1950s to explain how quarks combine to make protons and neutrons and JILA theorists in 2013 to model the behavior of atoms inside a laser. Now, the Ye group has observed a manifestation of SU(N≤10) symmetry in the magnetic behavior of strontium-87 (87Sr) atoms trapped in crystals of light created by intersecting...

Published: 07/09/2014 - 12:20pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The spooky quantum property of entanglement is set to become a powerful tool in precision measurement, thanks to researchers in the Thompson group. Entanglement means that the quantum states of something physical—two atoms, two hundred atoms, or two million atoms—interact and retain a connection, even over long distances.

Even without exploiting entanglement, atoms are already used...

Published: 07/01/2014 - 9:47am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin has won the 2014 Isaac Newton Medal, the highest accolade given by the Institute of Physics. She was cited for her experimental work in laser cooling atoms. This work has led to the practical demonstration of universal laws that underpin fundamental quantum behavior. 

"Professor Jin is an outstanding, clever, creative scientist," said Prof. Ed Hinds of the Imperial...

Published: 06/26/2014 - 2:02pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Adam Kaufman and his colleagues in the Regal and Rey groups have demonstrated a key first step in assembling quantum matter one atom at a time. Kaufman accomplished this feat by laser-cooling two atoms of rubidium (87Rb) trapped in separate laser beam traps called optical tweezers. Then, while maintaining complete control over the atoms to be sure they were identical in every...

Published: 06/24/2014 - 9:21am Type of Content: News

Two JILA graduate students and one undergraduate student were recognized with awards for their posters and presentations at the recent Boulder Laboratories Postdoctoral Poster Symposium, held at NIST Boulder (325 Broadway) on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. The Outstanding Presentation Award is a special recognition for selected poster presenters at the Boulder Laboratories Postdoctoral Poster...

Published: 04/22/2014 - 8:51am Type of Content: News

The University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO) presented awards to Henry C. Kapteyn, Margaret Murnane, and Dana Anderson on April 24 for representing the spirit of innovation at CU-Boulder and best practices in commercialization of university technologies, according to a press release issued by TTO on April 21. 

TTO recognized Henry C. Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane as...

Published: 03/13/2014 - 7:45am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

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 when quantum mechanical objects get sufficiently complicated. But until now, scientists hadn’t realized that something as simple as a pair of colliding atoms could be complicated enough for quantum chaos to appear. For instance, the Bohn group has...

Published: 03/05/2014 - 8:32am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

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 experiment) that explains the suppression of chemical reactions between potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules in the KRb quantum simulator. The main reason the molecules do not collide and react is continuous measurement of molecule loss from the...

Published: 02/20/2014 - 12:05pm Type of Content: News

Cindy Regal has been selected to receive a 2014 Cottrell Scholars Award from the Research Corporation for Science and Advancement. The Cottrell Scholar Awards are given to early career faculty members who excel at both research and teaching. The awards target scholarship designed to improve undergraduate science education at research universities in the United States.

Published: 01/16/2014 - 10:44am Type of Content: News

Deborah Jin has been awarded the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics by the National Academy of Sciences. The Comstock Prize recognizes an innovative discovery by a North American resident in the fields of electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy.

Jin received this year’s Comstock Prize for “demonstrating quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in...

Published: 01/14/2014 - 2:14pm Type of Content: News

Steve Cundiff was named an IEEE Fellow on January 1, 2014. In electing him as a Fellow, the Board of Directors of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. cited him "for contributions to self-referenced optical frequency combs and ultrafast nonlinear solid-state spectroscopy."

"I am delighted to share the good news with you and to congratulate you on having this...

Published: 01/14/2014 - 8:17am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Capturing and controlling the fleeting dance of electrons as they rearrange during a chemical reaction has been a long-standing challenge in science for several decades. Since electrons are much lighter than atoms, they can respond almost instantaneously – on time scales of hundreds of attoseconds, where an attosecond is 10-18 s.

Fortunately, over the last decade scientists have created...

Published: 01/13/2014 - 8:15am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Cornell and Jin groups have just met the challenge of creating and studying an extremely strongly interacting Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). This feat was reported in Nature Physics online January 12, 2014. An example of an ordinary weakly interacting Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a quantum gas of rubidium atoms (85Rb) all piled up in a little ball whose temperature is a chilly 10 nK...

Published: 11/04/2013 - 2:36pm Type of Content: News

Eric Cornell offered clever and interesting insights into ultracold matter as part of David Pogue’s Making Stuff Colder, aired on PBS on October 30, 2013. The show’s premise is taking a journey down a thermometer to lower and lower temperatures to see what new discoveries in science and technology are taking place as things get colder.  It’s a delightful trip. JILAns, in particular, will...

Published: 11/04/2013 - 2:50pm Type of Content: Video Gallery

On this PBS edition of the program NOVA, Making Stuff Colder, JILA Fellow and Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell talks with host David Pogue about ultracold science.  Appearing in the video at about 32:30 and throughout in audio commentary, Eric helps the audience understand the value to scientific discovery of working at near-zero Kelvin temperatures.

Published: 10/11/2013 - 7:46am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Research associate Tom Purdy and his colleagues in the Regal group have just built an even better miniature light-powered machine that can now strip away noise from a laser beam. Their secret: a creative workaround of a quantum limit imposed by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This limit makes it impossible to simultaneously reduce the noise on both the amplitude and phase of light inside...

Published: 09/25/2013 - 8:06am Type of Content: News

Theorist Ana Maria Rey has received a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, or “Genius Grant.” She is the third JILA Fellow to win a genius grant, joining Deborah Jin (2003) and Margaret Murnane (2000). The MacArthur Fellowship includes a $625,000 unrestricted grant. Rey was cited for being an “atomic Physicist advancing our ability to simulate, manipulate, and control novel states of matter through...

Published: 09/26/2013 - 10:57am Type of Content: Video Gallery

Atomic Physicist Ana Maria Rey was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2013. The Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more. Learn more at http://www.macfound.org/fellows.

Published: 09/24/2013 - 12:59pm Type of Content: News

Ana Maria Rey of JILA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has won the 2014 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society. Rey is one of the world’s top young theoretical physicists. Her specialty is atomic, molecular, and optical physics, an area in which she has shown a remarkable talent for suggesting practical applications of her theory to key...

Published: 08/13/2013 - 2:21pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Research associate Bo Yan and his colleagues recently observed spin exchanges in ultracold potassium-rubidium (KRb) molecules inside an optical lattice (a crystal of light formed by interacting laser beams). In solid materials, such spin exchanges are the building blocks of advanced materials and exotic behavior.

The spin exchanges occurred when a rotationally excited KRb molecule...

Published: 09/17/2013 - 10:09am Type of Content: News

Research Associate Franklin Dollar (Kapteyn/Murnane group) has won the 2013 John Dawson Thesis Prize. Dollar won the prize for his thesis entitled High intensity, high contrast laser solid interactions with short pulses. He completed this thesis work at the University of Michigan.

Dollar received a medal, $500, and financial support to attend the “Laser and Plasma Accelerators Workshop...

Published: 08/07/2013 - 8:02am Type of Content: News

James Thompson has been named the winner of a 2013 Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for his work on pioneering superradiant lasers. The superradiant laser is a quantum device that emits coherent lasing photons.

The DoC Bronze Medal is the highest honor the NIST Director can bestow upon NIST staff for outstanding accomplishments. The Bronze Medal citation reads “For pioneering the...

Published: 08/01/2013 - 1:11pm Type of Content: News

Theorist Ana Maria Rey has been given the 2013 “Great Minds in STEM” Most Promising Scientist Award. The honor is also known as the HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference) Award.

The Most Promising Scientist Award is an early career award for Hispanic-American researchers. Rey is a top young AMO theorist who has made important contributions to NIST and JILA in...

Published: 07/26/2013 - 8:28am Type of Content: News

JILA research associate Carlos Hernández-García has been honored with a 4th Award for Young Researchers from the 12th International Symposium on Ultrafast Intense Laser Science. The award recognizes Hernández-García's work on high-harmonic and zeptosecond pulse generation with the Becker and Kapteyn/Murnane groups in JILA and colleagues in Spain. It includes a travel grant to present his work...

Published: 07/26/2013 - 8:34am Type of Content: News

Graduate student Travis Nicholson (Ye group) handily won the competition for Best Student Paper at the joint  symposium of the IEEE-International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS), the IEEE-International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS), the IEEE-International Symposium on the Applications of Ferroelectric (ISAF) and the Piezoresponse Force Microscopy and Nanoscale Phenomena in Polar...

Published: 07/26/2013 - 7:49am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Many people are familiar with the beautiful harmonies created when two sound waves interfere with each other, producing a periodic and repeating pattern that is music to our ears. In a similar fashion, two interfering x-ray waves may soon make it possible to create the fastest possible strobe light ever made. This strobe light will blink fast enough to allow researchers to study the nuclei of...

Published: 07/01/2013 - 2:17pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The quantum world is not quite as mysterious as we thought it was. It turns out that there are highways into understanding this strange universe. And, graduate students Minghui Xu and David Tieri with Fellow Murray Holland have just discovered one such superhighway that has been around since the 1950s. Traveling along this superhighway has made it possible to understand the quantum behavior of...

Published: 06/13/2013 - 9:35am Type of Content: News

Michael Foss-Feig has won the American Physical Society's Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Award for outstanding doctoral thesis research in atomic, molecular, and optical physics. The award was announced at the 44th annual DAMOP meeting, held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, June 3–7, 2013.

Foss-Feig performed his thesis work in the Rey group at JILA. His thesis...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 10:03am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group has opened a new gateway into the relatively unexplored terrain of ultracold chemistry. Research associate Matt Hummon, graduate students Mark Yeo and Alejandra Collopy, newly minted Ph.D. Ben Stuhl, Fellow Jun Ye, and a visiting colleague Yong Xia (East China Normal University) have built a magneto-optical trap (MOT) for yttrium oxide (YO) molecules (Figure 1). The two-...

Published: 09/26/2013 - 2:32pm Type of Content: Video Gallery

Professor Deborah Jin and her team invented an ingenious method of cooling molecules down to near absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature -- which has the effect of slowing them down. In fact, they slow down enough for researchers to actually see what goes on during chemical reactions. The study of ultra-cold molecules could lead to new precision-measurement tools, new methods for...

Published: 02/27/2013 - 10:15am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Ana Maria Rey’s group is devising new theoretical methods to help experimentalists use ultracold atoms, ions, and molecules to model quantum magnetism in solids. Research associate Kaden Hazzard, former research associate Salvatore Manmana, newly minted Ph.D. Michael Foss-Feig, and Fellow Rey are working on developing new tools to understand these models, which describe both solids and...

Published: 02/27/2013 - 10:20am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When experimental physicists at Penn State were unable to observe some of the predicted behaviors of ultracold rubidium (Rb) atoms expanding inside a two-dimensional crystal of light, they turned to their theorist colleagues at the City University of New York and JILA for an explanation. Graduate student Shuming Li and Fellow Ana Maria Rey were happy to oblige.

A theoretical model of...

Published: 02/27/2013 - 10:25am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Cundiff group has taken an important step forward in the study of the quantum world. It has come up with an experimental technique to measure key parameters needed to solve the Schrödinger equation.

The amazing Schrödinger equation describes the time-dependent evolution of quantum states in a physical system such as the group’s hot gas of potassium atoms (K). But, for the equation...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 1:01pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye and Bohn groups have made a major advance in the quest to prepare “real-world” molecules at ultracold temperatures. As recently reported in Nature, graduate students Ben Stuhl and Mark Yeo, research associate Matt Hummon, and Fellow Jun Ye succeeded in cooling hydroxyl radical molecules (*OH) down to temperatures of no more than five thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (5mK)....

Published: 04/09/2013 - 2:49pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Most scientists think it is really hard to correlate, or entangle, the quantum spin states of many particles in an ultracold gas of fermions. Fermions are particles like electrons (and some atoms and molecules) whose quantum spin states prevent them from occupying the same lowest-energy state and forming a Bose-Einstein condensate. Entanglement means that two or more particles interact and...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 3:06pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Regal group recently completed a nifty feat that had never been done before: The researchers grabbed onto a single trapped rubidium atom (87Rb) and placed it in its quantum ground state. This experiment has identified an important source of cold atoms that can be arbitrarily manipulated for investigations of quantum simulations and quantum logic gates in future high-speed computers.

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Published: 11/01/2012 - 9:33am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Jin and Cornell groups have discovered irrefutable evidence for the contact. The contact appears in ultracold gases under conditions when the atoms are close “contact” in a Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC.  Like pressure, volume, and temperature, the contact is an important property of ultracold ensembles of atoms.  The contact is particularly important when the atoms interact...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 3:19pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Former research associate Antonio Picón, research associate Agnieszka Jaron-Becker, and Fellow Andreas Becker have discovered a way to make the hydrogen molecular ion (H2+) fall apart into its constituent atoms without exciting or ionizing the electron. This startling finding was a big surprise for the researchers, who recently figured out how to do something that conventional wisdom said was...

Published: 04/10/2013 - 11:42am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Members of the Jin group found a way to measure for the first time the a type of abstract “surface” in a gas of ultracold atoms that had been predicted in 1926 but not previously observed. Jin and her colleagues are leading researchers in the field of ultracold Fermi gases made up of thousands to millions of fermions.

Fermions, including electrons and some types of atoms such as...

Published: 09/25/2012 - 2:45pm Type of Content: News

Eric Cornell has won the Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal for molecular spectroscopy from the Ioannes Markus Marci Spectroscopic Society of the Czech Republic. The award recognizes Cornell's work (in collaboration with Jun Ye) in the search for the electric dipole moment of the electron.

Published: 04/10/2013 - 11:59am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Dan Hickstein (Kapteyn/Murnane group) recently investigated the behavior of electrons ripped from atoms and molecules by intense infrared laser pulses.

He and his colleagues collected the liberated electrons onto a detector where they formed intricate patterns that looked a lot like giant spiders (Figure 1). An international team of scientists studied these spider-...

Published: 09/25/2012 - 2:35pm Type of Content: News

Research associate Matthew Hummon and graduate student Benjamin Stuhl won two of the five Outstanding Presentation Awards at the 2012 Boulder Laboratories Postdoctoral Poster Symposium. Hummon was recognized for his presentation entitled "Making a Magneto-Optical Trap for Polar Molecules." His co-authors were Mark Yeo, Benjamin Stuhl, Alejandra Collopy, Yong Xia, and Jun Ye.

Stuhl was...

Published: 09/25/2012 - 2:27pm Type of Content: News

Fellow Cindy Regal,  recent JILA grad Matthew Squires (Anderson group, Ph.D. 2008),  former postdoc Wen Li (Kapteyn/Murnane group), and JILA grad Ian Coddington (Cornell group, Ph. D. 2004) have received prestigeous Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, according to a White House press release issued July 23. Each award is for $1 million over 5 years.

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Published: 08/31/2012 - 11:42am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Kapteyn/Murnane group had the idea that it might be possible to produce bright, laser-like beams of x-rays using an ultrafast laser that fits on a small optics table. It was one of those “it probably can’t be done, but we have to try” moments that motivated them to put together a team that includes the Becker theory group, and 16 collaborators in New York, Austria, and...

Published: 09/26/2013 - 12:29pm Type of Content: Video Gallery

Physicists at JILA have demonstrated a novel "superradiant" laser design with the potential to be 100 to 1,000 times more stable than the best conventional visible lasers. This type of laser could boost the performance of the most advanced atomic clocks and related technologies, such as communications and navigation systems as well as space-based astronomical instruments.

Published: 02/20/2012 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Greene group has just discovered some weird quantum states of ultracold fermions that are also dipoles. Dipoles are particles with small positively and negatively charged ends. Atoms (or molecules) that are fermions cannot occupy the same quantum state — unlike the neighborly bosons that readily occupy the same state and form Bose-Einstein condensates at ultracold temperatures. The...

Published: 01/25/2012 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Incredibly sensitive measurements can be made using particles that are correlated in a special way (called entanglement.)  Entanglement is one of the spooky properties of quantum mechanics – two particles interact and retain a connection, even if separated by huge distances.  If you do something to one of the particles, its linked partners will also respond.

However,...

Published: 10/27/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

There's something happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear -- Buffalo Springfield

Theorists Norio Takemoto (now at the Weizmann Institute of Science) and Fellow Andreas Becker figured that something was amiss when they first analyzed the details of what occurs when an ultrafast laser dislodges an electron from a “simple” molecular ion, H2+. Since H2+ has...

Published: 09/13/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Physicists would very much like to understand the physics underlying high-temperature superconductors. Such an understanding may lead to the design of room temperature superconductors for use in highly efficient and much lower-cost transmission networks for electricity. A technological breakthrough like this would drastically reduce world energy costs. However, this breakthrough requires a...

Published: 09/01/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group has built a cool new system for studying cold collisions between molecules. The system is far colder than a typical chemistry experiment that takes place at room temperature or hotter (300–500 K). But, it’s also much warmer than experiments that investigate ultracold-molecule collisions conducted at hundreds of billionths of a degree above absolute zero (0 K). The new system is...

Published: 07/14/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Theoretical physicists recently combined two powerful tools for exploring ultracold atomic gases: Optical lattices and Feshbach resonances. Optical lattices are crystals of light formed by interacting laser beams. Feshbach resonances in an ultracold atom gas occur at a particular magnetic field strength and cause ultracold atoms to form very large, loosely associated molecules. However,...

Published: 06/13/2011 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

There’s exciting news in the field of Efimov physics!

It’s been more than 40 years since Russian theoretical physicist Vitaly Efimov predicted a strange form of matter called the Efimov state in 1970. In these strange states, three atoms can stick together in an infinite number of new quantum states, even though any two of the atoms can’t even form a molecule. For a long time,...

Published: 02/23/2011 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Putting the brakes on a superfluid dipolar Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) just got a whole lot more interesting. Last year, the Bohn theory group explored what would occur in a dipolar BEC when a laser probe — think of it like a finger — tickled a BEC just hard enough to excite a roton. (see JILA Light & Matter, Summer 2010).

The roton is a strange type of quasi...

Published: 12/19/2010 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Plucking the two electrons out of helium atoms should allow researchers to study how they interact during a double ionization process — at least in theory. Recently, Fellow Andreas Becker explored whether an ultrashort vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) laser pulse could be used to probe the interactions of helium’s electrons during a double ionization in the presence of an intense...

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