Advances in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics push the frontiers of atomic clock research and offer exciting scientific opportunities. Atomic clocks now provide us with sensitive measurement tools, accurate navigation through the Global Positioning System (GPS), and are vital for advanced communications. The base unit of time, the second, is currently derived from a microwave transition frequency in cesium. However, the systematic uncertainty of the most advanced clocks based on optical transitions now vastly surpasses that of the cesium atomic standard.
These transition frequencies are affected by environmental perturbations that include, for example, the local electric and magnetic field environment. For the case of optical lattice atomic clocks, multiple atoms are confined together within a standing wave of light and the atom-atom and atom-light interactions both need to be fully understood. My PhD research focuses on studies of these interactions. These studies not only help to understand the systematic shifts these clocks experience but also allow the precise exploration of many-body quantum systems under both short and long-range interactions. We are therefore pushing the frontiers of AMO physics.