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

Logo of  CO Office of Economic Development & Int'l Trade
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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Photo of Dana Anderson
October 11, 2021: JILA Fellow Dana Anderson Wins Willis E. Lamb Award

Congratulations to JILA Fellow Dana Anderson for winning the 2021 Willis E Lamb award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics.

The award recognizes Dana's, "excellent contributions to quantum optics and electronics". The Anderson Group is currently involved in state of the art ultracold atom research with applications in atomtronics, atom interferometry and neutral atom quantum computing. 

The Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics is presented annually for outstanding contributions to the field. The award honors Willis E. Lamb, Jr., famous laser scientist and 1955 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, who gave us many seminal insights and served as our guide in so many areas of physics and technology.


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Dana Anderson in lab.
December 10, 2020: CU Boulder’s CUbit, ColdQuanta make Bose-Einstein lab available on the cloud

Enabling more people to get hands-on experience with quantum atomics through access to Albert will accelerate the learning curve of a new generation of quantum pioneers.

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August 01, 2018: “BEC’s in Space” Now a Reality

JILA’s favorite degenerate, the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC), has a new home: the International Space Station. This new acheivement is "multi-mega-awesome," according to JILA Fellow Eric Cornell. BECs became a staple for measuring quantum phenomenon when they were experimentally realized in 1995 by JILA Fellows Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado Boulder, and by Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT.

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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