John Bartolotta

John Bartolotta served as a graduate student from 2016 to 2021 in the Holland Group at JILA.


John acquired his B.S. in physics and mathematics (magna cum laude) and M.S. in physics from the University of Connecticut, Storrs campus. He obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder in May 2021.

Research and Career Interests

John hopes to continue contributing at the forefront of physics research as a research and development scientist in industry or as a postdoctoral researcher. He is particularly interested in technologies that use light-matter interactions to develop viable quantum computation, communication, and security protocols. John is also a passionate teacher of the mathematical and physical sciences.

John's research interests lie in the fields of quantum information and computing, quantum optics, and laser cooling of atoms and molecules.

Research at JILA/CU Boulder

John published a theoretical investigation of a laser cooling technique which uses narrow linewidth transitions named Sawtooth Wave Adiabatic Passage (SWAP) cooling. The article can be found here: and here:

John is also an author for a publication regarding the original experimental work on SWAP cooling, which can be found here: and here: This work was conducted in collaboration with the Thompson group at JILA.

John proposed the combination of SWAP cooling with a magnetic trap to form a so-called SWAP magneto-optical trap, or "SWAP MOT." An article on this subject is available here: and here:

John studied the incorporation of adiabatic shortcuts (specifically the Lewis Riesenfeld invariant shortcut method) into particle slowing techniques. An article on this subject is available here: and here:

John studied the process of entropy transfer in laser cooling. Specifically, he collaborated on a project that studies the potential role of the laser field in the entropy removal process. An article on this subject was submitted to PRX Quantum in May 2021, and a pre-print can be found here:

John has also conducted research involving the application of various cooling and trapping techniques to the fascinating molecule, Yttrium Monoxide (YO). It has been shown experimentally that a specific technique named gray molasses cooling has been especially effective at cooling a large number of YO molecules. John and other JILA AMO theorists have helped provide insight behind the cooling mechanism, earning him an acknowledgment in the experimental paper:

John has also worked on the generation and characterization of biphotons for use in quantum computing. While there were no publications, John became very interested in the field of quantum information and computing by conducting this work.

Teaching at CU Boulder

John co-instructed the 2017 iteration of "PHYS 1400: Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry" at CU Boulder. This 1-credit course introduces freshman-level science majors to the field of physics by discussing model building and evaluation, providing metacognition exercises, and supervising independent team research projects.

He also has over 10 years of tutoring experience in both mathematics and physics at the high school and college levels. He often offers private tutoring services. Send him an email if you are interested in his tutoring services!


John served as a grand award judge at the Colorado Science and Engineering State Fair in Fort Collins (link: in 2017-2020. He judged students in the fields of physics, earth & space sciences, and mathematics & computer science.

John was involved in 2017-2019 as an organizer of CU-Prime (link:, a diversity-focused, student-led organization in the CU Boulder Physics Department. This organization offers jargon-free scientific talks to the general public at CU Boulder and a 1-credit course geared toward introducing freshman-level science majors to physics. John taught the 1-credit course and gave a talk in 2017.

He also volunteered his time in 2019 as a PISEC volunteer (link:, a community partnership program through JILA. John traveled to local high schools to assist students with independent research projects for their physics courses.

Personal Interests

In his free time, John enjoys climbing both indoors and at Boulder Canyon and Clear Creek Canyon, hiking, playing music, and playing board and video games.

John Bartolotta photo.