Research Highlights

Precision Measurement | Quantum Information Science & Technology
Wiggles in Time: The Search for Dark Matter Continues
Model of eEDM
Published: June 17, 2021

In a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, JILA and NIST Fellows Eric Cornell, Jun Ye, and Konrad Lehnert developed a method for measuring a potential dark matter candidate, known as an axion-like particle. Axion-like particles are a potential class of dark matter particle which could explain some aspects of galactic structure. This work is also a result of collaboration with Victor Flambaum who is a leading theorist studying possible violations of fundamental symmetries. 

PI: Jun Ye | PI: Eric Cornell | PI: Konrad Lehnert
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
How universal is universality?
Van der Waals universality between atoms
Published: December 09, 2019

New research from the Cornell Group suggests that the van der Waals universality may have limitations.

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: Jun Ye
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Precision Measurement
And, The Answer Is . . . Still Round
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Published: October 09, 2017

Why are we here? This is an age-old philosophical question. However, physicists like Will Cairncross, Dan Gresh and their advisors Eric Cornell and Jun Ye actually want to figure out out why people like us exist at all. If there had been the same amount of matter and antimatter created in the Big Bang, the future of stars, galaxies, our Solar System, and life would have disappeared in a flash of light as matter and antimatter recombined.

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: Jun Ye
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
It’s Triplets!
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Published: October 05, 2017

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.

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: Deborah Jin
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
All Dressed Up and Ready to Probe
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Published: July 28, 2016

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 quasi particle called a Bose polaron.

PI: Deborah Jin | PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
From BEC to Breathing Forever
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Published: October 05, 2015

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.

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: Heather Lewandowski
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
Puff the Magic Atoms
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Published: January 13, 2014

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.

PI: Deborah Jin | PI: Eric Cornell
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Precision Measurement
The Dipolar Express
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Published: December 06, 2013

Physicists wonder about some pretty strange things. For instance, one burning question is: How round is the electron? While the simplest picture of the electron is a perfect sphere, it is possible that it is instead shaped like an egg. The egg shape would look a bit like a tiny separation of positive and negative charges. Physicists call this kind of charge separation an electric dipole moment, or EDM. The existence of an EDM in the electron or any other subatomic particle will have a profound impact on our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. 

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: John Bohn | PI: Jun Ye
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
Close Encounters with the Contact
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Published: October 22, 2012

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 with each other, since the contact tells you how likely it is that an atom in the ensemble is having a close encounter with another atom.

PI: Deborah Jin | PI: Eric Cornell
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Other
Sharing the Adventure of Science
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Published: January 04, 2011

Graduate students or research associates at JILA have the option of signing up to help teach after-school science classes to elementary and middle school students in the St. Vrain School District. The volunteers expect to stimulate the children to learn to think critically, enjoy science activities, and become confident in their own abilities to master difficult concepts. What they may not anticipate at first is that they will learn some important skills themselves, including the ability to communicate scientific concepts in everyday language and, with that new ability, gain a better understanding of education.

PI: Eric Cornell
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Other
Canned Heat
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Published: August 18, 2010

A while back, Fellow Eric Cornell started thinking about all the waste heat produced by the use of water to cool refi neries and other industrial plants. In a few places, the waste hot water — at ~212°F — is used to heat commercial and apartment buildings. 

PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics | Precision Measurement
Buried Treasure
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Published: October 02, 2009

The Anderson and Cornell groups have adapted two statistical techniques used in astronomical data processing to the analysis of images of ultracold atom gases. Image analysis is necessary for obtaining quantitative information about the behavior of an ultracold gas under different experimental conditions. 

PI: Dana Anderson | PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
The Oldest Trick in the Book
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Published: October 03, 2008

The mission to find the electron electric dipole moment (eEDM) recently took a menacing turn. Chief Eric Cornell and his protégés were already hard at work characterizing the hafnium fluoride ion (HfF+). Their goal was to be the first in the world to complete the mission. In their choice of molecule, they owed a lot to JILA theorists Ed Meyer and John Bohn (a.k.a. Agents 13 and 86), who had taken the theory world by storm in 2006 when they devised a simple and straightforward method for the evaluation of molecular candidates for an eEDM search.

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: John Bohn
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Atomic & Molecular Physics | Nanoscience
Bragging Rites
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Published: July 10, 2008

What happens to a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) when its atoms interact strongly? One possibility for large attractive interactions is that the condensate shrinks and then explodes, as the Cornell and Wieman groups discovered in 2001.

PI: Carl Wieman | PI: Deborah Jin | PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
A Failure to Communicate
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Published: June 26, 2007

In the quantum world inside Fellow Eric Cornell’s lab, communication occurs across a two-dimensional lattice array of Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) when atoms tunnel out of superatoms (made from about 7000 garden-variety rubidium (Rb) atoms) into neighboring BECs. This communication keeps the array coherent, i.e., the phases of all condensates remain locked to each other. But something interesting happens when the tiny superatoms stop communicating among themselves. Vortices form. And how many appear depends on temperature.

PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics | Nanoscience | Precision Measurement
Warm Side of the Force
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Published: April 10, 2007

Small changes in the quantum fluctuations of free space are responsible for a variety of curious phenomena: a gecko’s ability to walk across ceilings, the evaporation of black holes via Hawking radiation, and the fact that warmer surfaces can be stickier than cold ones in micro- and nanoscale electromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS). The tendency of tiny parts to stick together is a consequence of the Casimir force.

PI: Eric Cornell
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Atomic & Molecular Physics
Running Backwards
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Published: October 02, 2006

Does the electron have an electric dipole moment (eEDM)? If it does, the standard model of elementary particle physics says this dipole moment is many orders of magnitude below what can be measured experimentally. As Fellow John Bohn quips, "It's a darn small one."

PI: Eric Cornell | PI: John Bohn
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Nanoscience | Precision Measurement
Measure the Force, Luke
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Published: October 01, 2005

Graduate students Dave Harber and John Obrecht, postdoc Jeff McGuirk, and Fellow Eric Cornell recently devised a clever way to use a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) inside a magnetic trap to probe the quantum behavior of free space. To do this, the researchers first created a BEC inside a magnetic trap, whose shape (where the condensate forms) resembles a cereal bowl. Then as shown in the diagram to the right, they moved the BEC in the bowl closer and closer to a glass surface until distortions in the shape of the bowl appeared.

PI: Eric Cornell
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