About the Anderson Group

Welcome to the Anderson Optical Physics (AOPy) group web site. I invite you to explore our exciting research activities in optical and atomic physics. We are currently involved in state of the art ultracold atom research with applications in atomtronics, atom interferometry and neutral atom quantum computing. Follow the links under “Current Research” to learn more about our work in these exciting fields of research. There you can find both a popular and a more technical description on each of these main research areas.

If you happen to be considering the University of Colorado at Boulder for your education then you should know what all the students in my group already know: Boulder is a great place to live and CU is an excellent place to get an education.

If you would like to discover the latest that we have discovered, or are looking for any other information for that matter, you are welcome to contact me.

Research Areas

  • At the heart of the atomtronics experiment is our window atom chip technology (shown below). By patterning wires directly over the chip window it becomes possible to produce samples of ultracold atoms extremely close to a surface with high numerical aperture optical access. Below is an example of one of our “split-wire” atom chips, which enables trapping of atoms in an H-trap such that the atoms sit in a cigar-shaped trap arbitrarily close to the window.

  • Our quantum computing lab is in collaboration with eight institutions on developing the world’s first neutral atom quantum computer. Proposed by Richard Feynman decades ago, quantum computers are seen as a successor of contemporary computers as they can theoretically factor numbers exponentially better than a contemporary computer.

  • The Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) is being designed to enable earth-bound researchers to carry out ultracold atom physics experiments in the micro-gravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). Earth-bound experiments are subject to acceleration due to the Earth's gravity, and the corresponding energy shifts can be large compared with the temperature and quantum mechanical energy of ultracold atoms. Setting gravity to nearly zero allows one to carry out experiments and observations not possible with table-top experiments on Earth.

  • The goal of this project is to demonstrate an ultracold atom gyroscope sensitive enough to detect the Earth’s rotation. To do this we trap 87Rb atoms in a cigar-shaped, high frequency magnetic trap created from an atom chip depicted below. We then cool the atoms to degeneracy and use a Sagnac interferometer geometry to perform the inertial sensing.

In the Spotlight

(L to R): JILA Fellow and CU Boulder Engineering professor and CSO of Infleqtion Dana Anderson listens to Maybell Quantum CEO and Founder Corban Tillmann-Dick respond to a question from the moderator at the Conference of World Affairs in April 2024.
April 11, 2024: JILA Fellow Dana Anderson Speaks on Quantum Computing at the 2024 Conference of World Affairs

At the 2024 Conference of World Affairs, held at the University of Colorado Boulder, two prominent figures in the Colorado quantum industry shared their insights into the rapidly evolving quantum technology landscape. Dana Anderson, a JILA Fellow, CU Boulder professor of Electrical Engineering, and the CSO of Infleqtion (previously ColdQuanta), joined forces with Corban Tillman-Dick, CEO and Founder of Maybell and chair of Elevate Quantum, a consortium of over 80 quantum-focused companies in Colorado.

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From left to right: Murray Holland, (front) Catie Ledesma, (back) Kendall Mehling, (Front) Liang-Ying (former JILA graduate student), and Dana Anderson
March 16, 2023: NASA Awards Grant to Group of Quantum Institutes Including JILA and the University of Colorado Boulder for Researching Quantum in Space

JILA (a world-leading physics research institute set up by NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder) is part of a multi-university research group that will build quantum-based tools for space-based Earth sensing.  NASA expects to award a $15 million grant for five years to the group of universities. This cohort includes researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, JILA, the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), the University of California Santa Barbara (USCB), the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). “The award establishes the Quantum Pathways Institute, supported by a NASA STRI (Space Technology Research Institute), led by Prof. Srinivas Bettadpur of the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, with CU and UCSB as collaborating institutions,” explained Dana Anderson, a JILA Fellow and CU Boulder professor who is involved in the project. The Quantum Pathways Institute is the first of its kind, as it strives to translate the capabilities of quantum physics into usable devices called “Quantum 2.0.” Besides these developments, the Institute will offer educational training for graduate students and postdocs in quantum theory and quantum experimentation.

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Photo of Dana Anderson
November 14, 2022: JILA Fellow Dana Anderson’s Work at his Company ColdQuanta is recognized by TIME Magazine

When it comes to quantum technology, research and industry often work together to help advance both science and technology. That is why we at JILA congratulate JILA Fellow and University of Colorado Boulder Professor in Physics and Electrical, Compute, & Energy Engineering, Dana Anderson, for his and his team’s work at ColdQuanta, a leading quantum technology company, for being recognized by TIME magazine. Anderson is the founder of ColdQuanta and was the CEO before becoming the Chief Strategy Officer. The technology used at ColdQuanta originated from his laboratory at JILA. 

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November 16, 2021: JILA Featured in a new Quantum Documentary

CU Boulder innovators, JILA physicists, and university startup ColdQuanta are featured in a new film from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (COEDIT) promoting Colorado's extensive quantum ecosystem.

The film interviews CUbit Director Jun Ye (Physics, JILA Fellow, NIST Fellow), Associate Research Professor Ana Maria Rey (Physics, JILA Fellow), and other members of CU Boulder's quantum community about the importance of quantum research and Colorado's prominence in the field. Dan Caruso, interim CEO of cold-atom quantum tech startup ColdQuanta—co-founded by Professor Dana Anderson (Physics, JILA)—is also extensively featured. 

Article is taken from the CUbit Quantum Initiative website. 

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JILA Address

We are located at JILA: A joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Map | JILA Phone: 303-492-7789 | Address: 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309