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JILA Scientific Communications

Content About: JILA Scientific Communications

Published: 06/20/2017 - 3:15pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Kapteyn-Murnane group has come up with a novel way to use fast bursts of extreme ultraviolet light to capture how strongly electrons interact with each other in materials. This research is important for figuring out how quickly materials can change their state from insulating to conducting, or from magnetic to nonmagnetic. In the future such fast switching may lead to faster and more...

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. 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 Gordon Research Conferences.

Past winners in the physics category have included Nobel Laureates Eric Cornell of JILA and...

Published: 06/20/2017 - 11:47am Type of Content: News

Dr. Stephen J. Smith, Founding Fellow of JILA, passed away on June 10, 2017, at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, three of his five sons, and four grandchildren. 

Smith was one of seven NIST scientists who relocated to Boulder, Colorado, in 1962, to found the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) with the University of Colorado Boulder Physics...

Published: 06/13/2017 - 11:06am Type of Content: News

NPR’s education reporter Eric Westervelt is excited about Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman’s passion for transforming how undergraduate science courses are taught. On June 7, 2017, Westervelt talked with Wieman about his new book Improving How Universities Teach Science: Lessons from the Science Education Initiative, which was published by Harvard University Press in May of 2017.

Wieman’...

Published: 05/31/2017 - 1:09pm Type of Content: News

Eric Coughln has been named winner of the 2016 Ph.D. Thesis Prize from the High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics Division of the International Astronomical Union. He will receive the prize at the next IAU General Assemply, which will be held in Vienna in August 2018. Coughlin is also winner of the 2017 Dissertation Prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American...

Published: 05/22/2017 - 9:45am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

JILA and NIST scientists are hot on the trail of understanding quantum correlations (or entanglement) among groups of quantum particles such as atoms or ions. Such particles are the building blocks of larger and larger chunks of matter that make up the everyday world. Interestingly, correlated atoms and ions exhibit exotic behaviors and accomplish tasks that are impossible for noninteracting...

Published: 05/19/2017 - 9:27am Type of Content: News

May 18 was a red-letter day for Fellow Dana Anderson and employees of the company he founded, ColdQuanta. For the first time ever, ultracold 85Rb atoms soared above the Earth during an airplane flight with Anderson at the controls. The plane flew from Boulder to Fort Collins and back. University of Colorado Boulder Science Writer Trent Knoss was there and filed this exciting report from...

Published: 04/28/2017 - 9:23am Type of Content: News

The American Physical Society is memorializing Fellow Deborah Jin by renaming the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Award for “Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics." Henceforward, the award will be called the Deborah Jin Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics.

On April...

Published: 04/21/2017 - 8:19am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Regal group recently met the challenge of measurements in an extreme situation with a device called an interferometer. The researchers succeeded by using creative alterations to the device itself and quantum correlations. Quantum correlations are unique, and often counterintuitive, quantum mechanical interactions that occur among quantum objects such as photons and atoms. The group...

Published: 03/30/2017 - 7:57am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The first results are in from a new search for the axion, a hypothetical particle that may constitute dark matter. Researchers in the Haloscope At Yale Sensitive to Axion Cold Dark Matter (HAYSTAC) recently looked for evidence of the axion, but so far they have found none in the small 100 MHz frequency range between 5.7 and 5.8 GHz.

The experiment relied on the Lehnert group’s microwave...

Published: 03/20/2017 - 3:32pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Dennis Gardner and his coworkers in the Kapteyn-Murnane group accomplished two major breakthroughs in imaging tiny structures much too small to be seen with visible light microscopes: (1) for the first time in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) or soft X-ray region, they achieved a resolution smaller than the wavelength of the light; and (2) for the first time, they obtained high resolution...

Published: 03/07/2017 - 9:51am Type of Content: News

Christina Porter has won the 2017 Karel Urbanek Best Student Paper Award. The award consists of a wall plaque, honorarium, and trophy. The award was presented  on Thursday March 2, 2017, at this year's Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography conference at the SPIE Advanced LIthography in San Jose, California. The award is sponsored by KLA-Tencor.

Porter...

Published: 03/03/2017 - 8:39am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The lovely Crab Nebula was created by a supernova and its spinning-neutron-star remnant known as a pulsar. Pulsar wind nebulae, such as the Crab, shine because they contain plasmas of charged particles, such as electrons and positrons, traveling at near the speed of light. A key question in astrophysics has long been: What process accelerates some of the charged particles in plasmas to...

Published: 03/02/2017 - 1:45pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Perkins group continues to extend the performance of its unique Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) technology, revealing for the first time a dozen new short-lived intermediate states in the folding and unfolding of a membrane protein that controls the exchange of chemicals and ions into and out of living cells. Measuring the energetics and dynamics of membrane proteins is crucial to...

Published: 02/16/2017 - 2:41pm Type of Content: News

Margaret Murnane has been awarded the 2017 Optical Society of America’s (OSA’s) Frederic Ives Medal/Quinn Prize. The award recognizes overall distinction in optics and is the highest award given by OSA. The award was given to Murnane “for pioneering and sustained contributions to ultrafast science ranging from femtosecond lasers to soft x-ray high-harmonic generation to attosecond studies of...

Published: 02/03/2017 - 1:36pm Type of Content: News

Ralph Jimenez received a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for Superior Federal Service at a ceremony held in mid-December 2016. The Medal is the highest honor presented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Willie E. May presided over the awards ceremony, which was held concurrently at NIST's...

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: 12/20/2016 - 9:38am Type of Content: News

Markus Raschke has been given a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award by the Humboldt Foundation. The award is given in recognition of lifetime achievements in research. Award winners are invited to conduct reseach projects of their choice in cooperation with colleagues in Germany, with the goal of promoting international scientific cooperation. The Humboldt Foundation annually grants about...

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: 12/13/2016 - 10:13am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Astrophysicist Jeff Linsky and his colleagues recently created a sophisticated mathematical model of the outer atmosphere of the small M-dwarf star called GJ832. The new model fits well with spectral observations of the star made with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This accomplishment bodes well for two reasons: First, it provides a tool for better understanding M-dwarf stars––the most...

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: 11/23/2016 - 8:30am Type of Content: News

Markus Raschke has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), according to an AAAS news release published on the web on November 21, 2016. Former JILAn Steven Cundiff was also elected a Fellow of the AAAS this year.

The new Fellows are among the 391 AAAS members elected Fellows by their peers. The honor recognizes distinguished efforts to...

Published: 11/22/2016 - 9:28am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Galaxy mergers routinely occur in our Universe. And, when they take place, it takes years for the supermassive black holes at their centers to merge into a new, bigger supermassive black hole. However, a very interesting thing can happen when two black holes get close enough to orbit each other every 3–4 months, something that happens just before the two black holes begin their final desperate...

Published: 11/21/2016 - 9:24am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Mike Thompson of the Weber group wants to understand the basic science of taking carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning fossil fuels and converting it back into useful fuels. People could then use these fuels to generate electricity, heat homes and office buildings, power automobiles and trains, fly airplanes, and drive the industrial processes of modern life.

However...

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: 11/08/2016 - 9:56am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellow Mitch Begelman’s new theory says it’s possible to form stars while a supermassive black hole consumes massive amounts of stellar debris and other interstellar matter. What’s more, there’s evidence that this is exactly what happened around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way some 4–6 million years ago, according to Associate Fellow Ann-Marie Madigan.

Relatively recently...

Published: 11/04/2016 - 11:06am Type of Content: News

 

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education just got a big boost from a new iPad App developed by the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado. The 99¢ App is an extension of the award-winning collection of computer simulations of topics in science and mathematics produced by the project.

The project was founded in 2002 by...

Published: 10/31/2016 - 7:58am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Far-red fluorescent light emitted from proteins could one day illuminate the inner workings of life. But before that happens, scientists like Fellow Ralph Jimenez must figure out how fluorescent proteins’ light-emitting structures work. As part of this effort, Jimenez wants to answer a simple question: How do we design red fluorescent proteins to emit longer-wavelength, or redder, light?

...
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: 10/11/2016 - 9:35am Type of Content: News

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has just published a profile of Fellow Henry Kapteyn, a recently elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. The profile presents highlights of Kapteyn's life as well as his long and productive career in developing ultrashort-wavelength lasers, including table-top x-ray lasers. Many of Kapteyn's achievements occurred during a long and...

Published: 10/06/2016 - 10:01am Type of Content: News

A paper entitled Coherent Control of the Exciton-Biexciton System in an InAs Self-Assembled Quantum Dot Ensemble by Former JILA Fellow Steven T. Cundiff's group at the University of Michigan was published online in Physical Review Letters on October 6, 2016. Former JILANs Takeshi Suzuki and Rohan Singh were the paper's first and second authors, respectively. The new paper is both an...

Published: 09/26/2016 - 12:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Nesbitt group has invented a nifty technique for exploring the physics and chemistry of a gas interacting with molecules on the surface of a liquid. The group originally envisioned the technique because it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of understanding surface chemistry. For instance, ozone depletion in the atmosphere occurs because of chemical reactions of hydrochloric acid...

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 - 12:04pm Type of Content: News

Science News has a delightful profile of Senior Research Associate Tenio Popmintchev as part of the magazines annual feature: The SN10: Meet the scientists making the next big discoveries.

The magazine showcases Popmintchev’s accomplishments at JILA as a laser physicist, including his having played a key role in the invention of the world’s first tabletop x-ray laser. The magazine...

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: 09/16/2016 - 8:34am Type of Content: News

Graduate student Maya Fabrikant has won one of three prizes awarded to the best posters presented by young researchers during the MOLEC 2016 conference held in Toledo, Spain September 11–16. Both graduate students and postdoctoral researchers were eligible for the prizes, which included a $200 Visa gift card. The three prizes were presented by the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

...

Published: 08/30/2016 - 12:00pm Type of Content: News

Fellows Cindy Regal and Konrad Lehnert have won the 2016 Governor’s Award for High-Impact Research in Foundational Science and Technology, CO-LABS announced today. JILA Chair Dana Anderson submitted the nomination of their joint research on building, studying, and using devices that exploit the strange and powerful properties of quantum mechanics. The nomination was entitled, The JILA Quantum...

Published: 08/24/2016 - 2:28pm Type of Content: News

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has awarded David Nesbitt the 2017 E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy. The award, sponsored by the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry, recognizes outstanding accomplishments in fundamental or applied spectroscopy in chemistry. It consists of $5,000 and a certificate.

Nesbitt will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 4, 2017, held in...

Published: 08/18/2016 - 10:49am Type of Content: News

Katharine Gebbie, Senior Advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), died on August 17, 2016, after a short illness. She was 84. A legendary laboratory director at NIST, Gebbie was honored in 2015 when the most advanced laboratory building at NIST’s Boulder campus was renamed in her honor.

An astrophysicist by training, Gebbie worked at NIST for more...

Published: 08/11/2016 - 10:06am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Greg Salvesen, JILA Collaborator Jake Simon (Southwest Research Institute), and Fellows Phil Armitage and Mitch Begelman decided they wanted to figure out why swirling disks of gas (accretion disks) around black holes often appear strongly magnetized. They also wanted to figure out the mechanism that allowed this magnetization to persist over time. In the process, they hoped...

Published: 08/04/2016 - 8:45am Type of Content: News

Eric Coughlin has won the 2016 R. N. Thomas Award. The $1000 award comes from a fund established by Dr. Nora Andreasian, the widow of JILA co-founder Dick Thomas. Coughlin will also receive a book about Thomas’ storied career in astrophysics.

A talented and productive theorist, Coughlin published eight papers as a graduate student, with two more in the works. His thesis work spanned two...

Published: 07/29/2016 - 8:39am Type of Content: News

NRC Postdoc Ed Marti received an Outstanding Presentation Award for his presentation of the poster "Spin-Orbit Coupled Fermions in an Optical Clock" at the 2016  Boulder Laboratories Postdoctoral Poster Symposium held on July 20. This recognition was shared with NRC Postdoc Shimon Kolkowitz, who originally submitted the abstract as well as prepared the poster and a two-minute–...

Published: 07/28/2016 - 2:25pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Physics education researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Maine recently showed that students troubleshooting a malfunctioning electric circuit successfully tackled the problem by using models of how the circuit ought to work. The researchers confirmed this approach by analyzing videotapes of eight pairs of students talking aloud about their efforts to...

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: 07/27/2016 - 1:41pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellow Phil Armitage and group collaborator Jacob Simon of the Southwest Research Institute are leading work to answer a central question about planet formation: How do pea- and pebble-sized objects orbiting within a protoplanetary disk evolve into asteroid-sized objects tens to hundreds of kilometers in size? This is an important question to answer because the eventual formation of planets...

Published: 07/25/2016 - 2:39pm Type of Content: News

Jennifer Ellis won an Optical Society of America (OSA) award in recognition of her excellent oral contribution at the International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena, held July 17–22 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ellis, who is a graduate student with the Kapteyn/Murnane group, spoke about her work on Femtosecond Dynamics of Solvated Electrons in Nanodroplets Probed with Extreme Ultraviolet Beams....

Published: 07/21/2016 - 9:24am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Raschke group has created an ultrafast optical nanoscope based on a unique way of “nano” focusing the light to image the behavior of electrons on a thin gold film. The nanoscope is 1,000 times more powerful than conventional optical microscopes. It allows the researchers to investigate matter on its natural time and length scales, which are measured in femtoseconds and nanometers,...

Published: 07/20/2016 - 9:27am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Bob Peterson and his colleagues in the Lehnert-Regal lab recently set out to try something that had never been done before: use laser cooling to systematically reduce the temperature of a tiny drum made of silicon nitride as low as allowed by the laws of quantum mechanics. Although laser cooling has become commonplace for atoms, researchers have only recently used lasers to cool tiny silicon...

Published: 06/28/2016 - 9:04am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellow Judah Levine recently presented a discussion of our understanding of time from antiquity to the present day in an insightful paper published in the April 2016 issue of the European Physical Journal H.

Levine recounted that for at least 7000 years, the measurement of time has been linked to the rotation of the Earth, the lunar cycle, the path of the Earth around the Sun, and other...

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: 06/02/2016 - 12:12pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Kapteyn/Murnane group has measured how long it takes an electron born into an excited state inside a piece of nickel to escape from its birthplace. The electron’s escape is related to the structure of the metal. The escape is the fastest material process that has been measured before in the laboratory––on a time scale of a few hundred attoseconds, or 10-18 s. This groundbreaking experiment...

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: 05/24/2016 - 10:25am Type of Content: News

President Barack Obama announced on May 20, 2016, his intent to appoint Dr. W. Carl Lineberger to a second term on the National Science Board. The National Science Board serves as an advisory board to the President and Congress on issues involving science and engineering. Lineberger’s duties will include helping to establish the policies of the National Science Foundation. He is currently...

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: 02/19/2016 - 1:44pm Type of Content: News

Graduate Student Matt Norcia (Thompson group) received a JILA Scientific Achievement Award on February 18. The announcement took place during a special snack time in the Sunrise Room of the JILA Tower.

Norcia was cited for building a strontium cavity-QED experiment from scratch. Norcia’s advisor, James Thompson, nominated him for the prestigious award. Thompson noted that Norcia’s...

Published: 02/10/2016 - 3:26pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Cong Chen and his colleagues in the Kapteyn/Murnane group have generated one of the most complex coherent light fields ever produced using attosecond (10-18 s) pulses of circularly polarized extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light. (The circularly polarized EUV light is shown as rotating blue sphere on the left of the picture. The complex coherent light field is illustrated with the teal, lilac, and...

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: 12/16/2015 - 9:17am Type of Content: News

Dr. Katharine Blodgett Gebbie, long-time JILAn and former director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's)  Physical Measurement Laboratory was honored by NIST on December 10. The most advanced laboratory building at the NIST campus in Boulder, Colo., was renamed after legendary laboratory director Gebbie.

This is the first time a NIST Boulder building has...

Published: 12/08/2015 - 12:11pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

In 2008, Fellow Jeff Linsky and his colleague Seth Redfield of Wesleyan University used spectral information gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope to figure out that the solar system is surrounded by 15 nearby clouds of warm gas, all within 50 light years of the Sun. In 2014, Cécile Gry of Aix-Marseille Université (France) and Edward Jenkins of Princeton University Observatory analyzed the...

Published: 12/03/2015 - 1:20pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Imagine laser-like x-ray beams that can “see” through materials––all the way into the heart of atoms. Or, envision an exquisitely controlled four-dimensional x-ray microscope that can capture electron motions or watch chemical reactions as they happen. Such exquisite imaging may soon be possible with laser-like x-rays produced on a laboratory optical table. These possibilities have opened up...

Published: 11/30/2015 - 7:53am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

In the future, quantum microwave networks may handle quantum information transfer via optical fibers or microwave cables. The evolution of a quantum microwave network will rely on innovative microwave circuits currently being developed and characterized by the Lehnert group. Applications for this innovative technology could one day include quantum computing, converters that transform microwave...

Published: 11/19/2015 - 4:14pm Type of Content: News

Graduate student Chris Mancuso and senior research associate Dan Hickstein of the Kapteyn/Murnane group recently spoke with Amanda Grennell, a 5th year PhD candidate in Chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder. The researchers discussed the K/M group’s paper “Strong-field ionization with two-color circularly polarized laser fields,” which appeared in Physical Review A in March, 2015....

Published: 11/11/2015 - 7:59am Type of Content: News

JILA's Laser Guru Jan Hall spoke about Light, Atomic Clocks, and Testing Einstein’s Assumptions on Nov. 4, 2015, at the Keck Institute for Space Studies. A lively video of the talk can be found at http://kiss.caltech.edu/new_website/lectures/Hall_Lecture_2015.html

Jan's abstract is a good synopsis of the video talk: Even though this is the 55th year of the laser, progress in its...

Published: 11/10/2015 - 11:31am Type of Content: News

Beth Kroger has been selected as a 2015 Chancellor’s Employee of the Year recipient. Kroger, who is JILA’s Chief of Operations, ensures that JILA is a great place to do research at the University of Colorado Boulder. She sets an example for JILA staff by viewing her job as an opportunity to learn, be creative, and help the Institute grow and be successful.

Kroger serves as JILA’s...

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: 10/16/2015 - 3:36pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Fellow Phil Armitage and his collaborator Jake Simon of the Southwest Research Institute recently conducted a theoretical study of turbulence in the outer reaches of an accretion disk around HD 163296, a nearby young star. Meanwhile, the Atacama large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile observed the same accretion disk. There were intriguing and unexpected differences...

Published: 10/16/2015 - 3:10pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Perkins Group has demonstrated a 50-to-100 times improvement in the time resolution for studying the details of protein folding and unfolding on a commercial Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). This enhanced real time probing of protein folding is revealing details in these complex processes never seen before. This substantial enhancement in AFM force spectroscopy may one day have powerful...

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: 09/21/2015 - 10:12am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Kapteyn/Murnane group, with Visiting Fellow Charles Durfee, has figured out how to use visible lasers to control x-ray light! The new method not only preserves the beautiful coherence of laser light, but also makes an array of perfect x-ray laser beams with controlled direction and polarization. Such pulses may soon be used for observing chemical reactions or investigating the electronic...

Published: 09/21/2015 - 9:05am Type of Content: News

JILA Fellow Margaret Murnane was named an honorary doctor on September 21, 2015, by the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden's oldest institution of higher learning. Murnane was noted in the Uppsala University press release as being a world-leading expert in ultrafast quantum optics. In this field, Murnane is well known for her work on high-harmonic generation of...

Published: 09/18/2015 - 8:31am Type of Content: News

Jun Ye gave a fascinating talk entitled "Let There Be Light (and Thus, Time)" at a DARPA conference on Friday Sept. 11 in St. Louis. Ye described how ultrasensitive lasers can measure the very nature of time as well as the ever-changing distance between the Earth and the Moon. Ye's talk was highlighted the following week in a Sept. 15 article by Rebecca Boyle in...

Published: 08/24/2015 - 7:59am Type of Content: News

Richard Bowman has highlighted the Perkins Lab's recent Optics Express paper entitled "Ultrastable measurement platform: sub-nm drift over hours in 3D at room temperature" in the Optical Society of America's (OSA's) August 2015 Spotlight on Optics. Spotlight on Optics features articles of wide interest that have been recently published in OSA journals. This article provides background...

Published: 08/19/2015 - 9:00am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Brian Lester of the Regal group has taken an important step toward building larger, more complex systems from single-atom building blocks. His accomplishment opens the door to advances in neutral-atom quantum computing, investigations of the interplay of spin and motion as well as the synthesis of novel single molecules from different atoms.

What Lester did was to...

Published: 08/14/2015 - 11:22am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Ever wondered how magnetic pressure alone might be able to maintain the structure of an accretion disk around a black hole in an x-ray binary system? Fellow Mitch Begelman recently gave the idea a lot of thought. And, in the process of working on the idea with Fellow Phil Armitage and Chris Reynolds of the University of Maryland, Begelman came up with a new model for accretion disks around...

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: 08/06/2015 - 9:04am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

When an ordinary star like our Sun wanders very close to a supermassive black hole, it’s very bad news for the star. The immense gravitational pull of the black hole (i.e., tidal forces) overcomes the forces of gravity holding the star together and literally pulls the star apart. Over time, the black hole swallows half of the star stuff, while the other half escapes into the interstellar...

Published: 07/27/2015 - 11:59am Type of Content: News

Graduate student Benjamin Greer has won the 2015 R. N. Thomas Award. The $500 award comes from a fund established by Nora Thomas, the widow of JILA co-founder Dick Thomas. Greer also received a book about Thomas’ storied career in astrophysics.

Greer is a fifth-year graduate student in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences who plans to graduate in December. He works under Fellow Juri...

Published: 07/27/2015 - 9:04am Type of Content: News

Kevin Cox received an Outstanding Presentation Award at the July 15, 2015, NIST Boulder Laboratories Postdoctoral Poster Symposium. Cox was recognized for his presentation “17 dB of Spin Squeezing with QND Measurements.” Cox is a graduate student in the James Thompson group at JILA. He co-authored the poster with Graham Greve, Joshua Weiner, and Thompson.

The award citation read, “The...

Published: 07/22/2015 - 3:59pm Type of Content: News

JILA Fellow W. Carl Lineberger has been awarded the 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Experiment, which includes a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal. Lineberger is E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The 2015 Dudley Herschbach Prize for Theory and a Dynamics of Molecular Collisions Medal were given to Millard Alexander, University of...

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: 07/16/2015 - 3:43pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

For astrophysicists like Fellow Jeff Linsky, the Lyman-α spectral line of atomic hydrogen is a powerful tool for investigating the stellar winds emitted by stars, the deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio in the Galaxy, the excited states of hydrogen molecules and carbon monoxide in the environments around young stars, and photochemical processes that create oxygen in the atmospheres of planets...

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: 06/25/2015 - 10:57am Type of Content: News

University College Dublin conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science on Margaret Murnane, June 16, 2015, at a ceremony on the campus in Dublin, Ireland. This award, the highest awarded by the university, is given to remarkable individuals who have achieved distinction in their fields of endeavour. It is given on Bloomsday in honor of UCD alum James Joyce.

Published: 06/03/2015 - 10:18am Type of Content: News

JILA’s Strong-Field Science Team has won a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award from the U. S. Department of Defense, the department announced on June 2, 2015. The award was for “Harnessing Strong-Field Mid-IR Lasers: Designer Beams of Relativistic Particles and Thz to X-Ray Light.” The University of Colorado’s experiment team includes Fellows...

Published: 05/11/2015 - 11:20am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

A wildly successful JILA (Nesbitt Group)-NIH collaboration is opening the door to studies of RNA behavior, including binding, folding and other factors that affect structural changes of RNA from living organisms. Such structural changes determine RNA enzymatic functions, including the regulation of genetic information.

Yun-Xing Wang of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and his...

Published: 04/30/2015 - 12:59pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

For decades after the invention of the red ruby laser in 1960, bright laser-like beams were confined to the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet region of the spectrum. Today there’s an exciting revolution afoot: new coherent x-ray beams are now practical, including the EUV beams gracing the cover of the May 1, 2015, special issue of Science honoring the International Year of Light. The same...

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: 04/27/2015 - 7:57am Type of Content: News

W. Carl Lineberger, JILA Fellow and E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has won the 2015 NAS Award in Chemical Sciences. He was recognized for the development of negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy, which scientists can use to determine the electron affinity of the neutral version of an atom or molecule. Electron...

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...

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