About the Lewandowski Group

Our group works in two distinct, but complementary, areas of science, experimental cold molecular physics and physics education research. Both of these areas are inherently interdisciplinary in nature, where we bridge traditional boundaries of physics, chemistry, and social science.   For the first area, we cool and trap neutral and ionic molecules to explore how controlling the internal quantum states and translational motion can impact how they interact and react. We also take advantage of cooling molecules to be able to perform high-resolution spectroscopy to elucidate complex molecular structure. The second area of research focuses on developing understanding of how students learn experimental physics. We apply the new knowledge to improve undergraduate and graduate education in experimental and laboratory physics.

  • Our lab studies elastic and inelastic collisions between atoms and molecules in the cold temperature regime to understand how the collision energy and quantum states impact the interactions.

  • Our lab directly laser cools trapped calcium ions (Ca+) down to milikelvin temperatures for the purpose of studying gas-phase cold chemical reactions.

  • Our lab uses a Cryogenic Buffer-Gas Beam (CBGB) and a mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectroscopy setup for the purpose of studying the vibrational spectra of cold, gas-phase molecular clusters. 

  • Our research uses supersonic expansion coupled with Stark deceleration to cool and slow polar molecules. 

Physics Education Research

  • The Lewandowski Group studies how students obtain experimental research skills in the context of instructional labs and undergraduate research experiences. In addition, we work to transform classroom experiences to help students better transition into the research lab environment.

  • Looking for ways to evaluate or transform your physics lab course? We have developed multiple assessment tools including E-CLASS, MAPLE, and SPRUCE to help evaluate undergraduate physics lab courses. In addition, we have worked to transform multiple classroom experiences from a large,…

Research Highlights

  • Silhouettes of workforce

    Help Wanted: How to Build a Prepared and Diverse Quantum Workforce

    The second quantum revolution is underway, a period marked by significant advances in quantum technology, and huge discoveries within quantum science. From tech giants like Google and IBM, who build their own quantum computers, to…
    Read More

  • Chemical reaction pathways of propyne and acetylene

    Electron Fly-Bys on the Chemical Reaction Pathway

    When it comes to chemical reactions, shape matters. The Lewandowski Group have studied acetylene and its reactions with propyne and allene to find out how an isomer changes the chemical reaction pathway.


    Read More
  • World cloud in the shape of Schrodingers Cat

    Now Hiring: The New Quantum Workforce

    We're in the Second Quantum Revolution, and companies are eager to build and market new technology based on rapid advances in quantum physics. JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski and her group decided to find out what qualifications these…
    Read More

  • illustration of planning an online course

    What to Know if You’re Teaching Physics Labs Remotely

    In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, instructors are planning their courses for virtual platforms—a major challenge for laboratory classes. JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski has gathered some helpful tools for those teaching…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Taming Chemistry at the Quantum Level

    In the vast stretches between solar systems, heat does not flow and sound does not exist. Action seems to stop, but only if you don’t look long enough. Violent and chaotic actions occur in the long stretches of outer space. These…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Modeling Lessons

    Physics education researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Maine recently showed that students troubleshooting a malfunctioning electric circuit successfully tackled the problem by using models of how…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    From BEC to Breathing Forever

    It took Eric Cornell three years to build JILA’s first Top Trap with his own two hands in the lab. The innovative trap relied primarily on magnetic fields and gravity to trap ultracold atoms. In 1995, Cornell and his colleagues used the…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    I Sing the Body Electric

    The Lewandowski group recently decided to see what would happen if it could get cold molecules (1K–1mK) and ultracold (<1mK) atoms to collide. Former graduate student L. Paul Parazzoli, graduate student Noah Fitch, and Fellow Heather…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Holy Monodromy!

    Monodromy literally means "once around." The term is applied in mathematics to systems that run around a singularity. In these systems, a parameter that describes the state of the system changes when the system loops around the…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Constant Vigilance

    The fine structure constant is getting a lot of attention these days. Known as α, it is the "coupling constant," or measure of the strength of the electromagnetic force that governs how electrons, muons, and light interact. What's…
    Read More

Research Highlights

  • Silhouettes of workforce

    Help Wanted: How to Build a Prepared and Diverse Quantum Workforce

    The second quantum revolution is underway, a period marked by significant advances in quantum technology, and huge discoveries within quantum science. From tech giants like Google and IBM, who build their own quantum computers, to…
    Read More

  • Chemical reaction pathways of propyne and acetylene

    Electron Fly-Bys on the Chemical Reaction Pathway

    When it comes to chemical reactions, shape matters. The Lewandowski Group have studied acetylene and its reactions with propyne and allene to find out how an isomer changes the chemical reaction pathway.


    Read More
  • World cloud in the shape of Schrodingers Cat

    Now Hiring: The New Quantum Workforce

    We're in the Second Quantum Revolution, and companies are eager to build and market new technology based on rapid advances in quantum physics. JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski and her group decided to find out what qualifications these…
    Read More

  • illustration of planning an online course

    What to Know if You’re Teaching Physics Labs Remotely

    In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, instructors are planning their courses for virtual platforms—a major challenge for laboratory classes. JILA Fellow Heather Lewandowski has gathered some helpful tools for those teaching…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Taming Chemistry at the Quantum Level

    In the vast stretches between solar systems, heat does not flow and sound does not exist. Action seems to stop, but only if you don’t look long enough. Violent and chaotic actions occur in the long stretches of outer space. These…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Modeling Lessons

    Physics education researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Maine recently showed that students troubleshooting a malfunctioning electric circuit successfully tackled the problem by using models of how…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    From BEC to Breathing Forever

    It took Eric Cornell three years to build JILA’s first Top Trap with his own two hands in the lab. The innovative trap relied primarily on magnetic fields and gravity to trap ultracold atoms. In 1995, Cornell and his colleagues used the…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    I Sing the Body Electric

    The Lewandowski group recently decided to see what would happen if it could get cold molecules (1K–1mK) and ultracold (<1mK) atoms to collide. Former graduate student L. Paul Parazzoli, graduate student Noah Fitch, and Fellow Heather…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Holy Monodromy!

    Monodromy literally means "once around." The term is applied in mathematics to systems that run around a singularity. In these systems, a parameter that describes the state of the system changes when the system loops around the…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Constant Vigilance

    The fine structure constant is getting a lot of attention these days. Known as α, it is the "coupling constant," or measure of the strength of the electromagnetic force that governs how electrons, muons, and light interact. What's…
    Read More

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