About the Holland Group

Our quantum optics theory group primarily explores light-matter interactions in cold quantum gases, with a focus on quantum sensing, open quantum systems, and applying machine learning to quantum design problems. The group collaborates with experimentalists at JILA to develop quantum metrology platforms that utilize interparticle entanglement to sense with a quantum advantage. In addition, the group is part of NASA’s Quantum Pathways Institute to manufacture space-bound quantum-based instruments to be used for navigation and climate science. A focal point of our group's metrology research is utilizing Lie group symmetries to extend entanglement generation protocols to higher dimensional systems. The group also works on bad-cavity QED systems to help realize a continuous-wave superradiant laser that would have a coherence length stretching from the Earth to the Sun, which would help enable the development of active atomic clocks.

Research Areas

Stories About Our Research

  • "Visualization of locating the optimal generator on a Bloch sphere. The color represents the QFI for the given generator."

    Making Use of Quantum Entanglement

    Quantum sensors help physicists understand the world better by measuring time passage, gravity fluctuations, and other effects at the tiniest scales. For example,  one quantum sensor, the LIGO gravitational wave detector, uses quantum…
    Read More

  • Model of laser system

    Laser Cavities and the Quest for the Holy Grail

    Atomic clocks have been heavily studied by physicists for decades. The way these clocks work is by having atoms, such as rubidium or cesium, that are "ticking" (that is, oscillating) between two quantum states. As such, atomic clocks…
    Read More

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    A Little Less Spontaneous

    A large fraction of JILA research relies on laser cooling of atoms, ions and molecules for applications as diverse as world-leading atomic clocks, human-controlled chemistry, quantum information, new forms of ultracold matter and the…
    Read More

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    The Great Escape

    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…
    Read More

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    Talking Atoms & Collective Laser Supercooling

    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…
    Read More

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    The Quantum Identity Crisis

    Dynamical phase transitions in the quantum world are wildly noisy and chaotic. They don’t look anything like the phase transitions we observe in our everyday world. In Colorado, we see phase transitions caused by temperature changes all…
    Read More

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    Dealing with Loss

    There’s exciting news from JILA’s ultracold molecule collaboration. The Jin, Ye, Holland, and Rey groups have come up with new theory (verified by experiment) that explains the suppression of chemical reactions between potassium-…
    Read More

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    Quantum Legoland

    The quantum world is not quite as mysterious as we thought it was. It turns out that there are highways into understanding this strange universe. And, graduate students Minghui Xu and David Tieri with Fellow Murray Holland have just…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    A Quantum Leap for Precision Lasers

    To be the best they can be, optical atomic clocks need better clock lasers — lasers that remain phase coherent a hundred times longer than the very best conventional lasers. For instance, light from the clock laser in Fellow Jun Ye’s…
    Read More

Research Highlights

  • "Visualization of locating the optimal generator on a Bloch sphere. The color represents the QFI for the given generator."

    Making Use of Quantum Entanglement

    Quantum sensors help physicists understand the world better by measuring time passage, gravity fluctuations, and other effects at the tiniest scales. For example,  one quantum sensor, the LIGO gravitational wave detector, uses quantum…
    Read More

  • Model of laser system

    Laser Cavities and the Quest for the Holy Grail

    Atomic clocks have been heavily studied by physicists for decades. The way these clocks work is by having atoms, such as rubidium or cesium, that are "ticking" (that is, oscillating) between two quantum states. As such, atomic clocks…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    A Little Less Spontaneous

    A large fraction of JILA research relies on laser cooling of atoms, ions and molecules for applications as diverse as world-leading atomic clocks, human-controlled chemistry, quantum information, new forms of ultracold matter and the…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Great Escape

    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…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Talking Atoms & Collective Laser Supercooling

    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…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Quantum Identity Crisis

    Dynamical phase transitions in the quantum world are wildly noisy and chaotic. They don’t look anything like the phase transitions we observe in our everyday world. In Colorado, we see phase transitions caused by temperature changes all…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Dealing with Loss

    There’s exciting news from JILA’s ultracold molecule collaboration. The Jin, Ye, Holland, and Rey groups have come up with new theory (verified by experiment) that explains the suppression of chemical reactions between potassium-…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Quantum Legoland

    The quantum world is not quite as mysterious as we thought it was. It turns out that there are highways into understanding this strange universe. And, graduate students Minghui Xu and David Tieri with Fellow Murray Holland have just…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    A Quantum Leap for Precision Lasers

    To be the best they can be, optical atomic clocks need better clock lasers — lasers that remain phase coherent a hundred times longer than the very best conventional lasers. For instance, light from the clock laser in Fellow Jun Ye’s…
    Read More

In the Spotlight

JILA Fellow and CU Physics Professor Murray Holland
January 23, 2024: JILA Fellow Murray Holland awarded a Translational Quantum Research Seed Grant Administered by CU Boulder

CU Boulder has proudly announced the winners of its prestigious 2023-2024 Translational Quantum Research Seed Grants, a crucial step in fostering quantum science and technology innovation. This year's selection includes JILA Fellow Murray Holland, a distinguished figure in the field of quantum physics, who has been recognized for his groundbreaking project, "Developing a strontium optical lattice atom interferometer."


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"Visualization of locating the optimal generator on a Bloch sphere. The color represents the QFI for the given generator."
October 12, 2023: JILA Researcher Jarrod Reilly highlighted in a New “Physics Magazine” Article

Leading the way in quantum sensing advancements, JILA, a renowned institute at the forefront of quantum sensing research, has once again proven its prowess. In a new Physics Magazine article, JILA graduate student Jarrod Reilly was highlighted in his work developing a groundbreaking approach that promises to redefine the capabilities of quantum sensors.


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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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Part of logo for Murray Holland's research group
December 30, 2020: Jarrod Reilly wins the Stephen Halley White Undergraduate Research Award

Jarrod Reilly, an undergraduate researcher in the Murray Holland Laboratory, wins the 2020 Stephen Halley White Undergraduate Research Award 


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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