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News & Highlights

Research Highlights

Published: Thu, 10/04/2018 - 9:15am

JILA researchers are using lasers to control chemical reactions at the quantum level. This control brings new insights to our understanding of reaction pathways, and serves as a proof-of-principle that similar techniques could revolutionize our study of chemical processes.

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 chemical reactions between radicals and ions are the same reactions underlying the burn of a flame and floating the ozone above our planet. But they’re easy to miss in outer space because they’re very rare.

“It’s very low density in the interstellar medium, so the probability of seeing another atom or molecule is very low,” said JILA Fellow Dr. Heather Lewandowski. “They could go for kilometers before seeing another particle.”

And when meetings are that rare, the particles must be reactive. “If you do run into another particle, you want to have a high probability of reaction if you are ever going to react,” said Lewandowski.

Radicals and ions are...

Published: Apr 30, 2015

For decades after the invention of the red ruby laser in 1960, bright laser-like beams were confined to the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet...

Published: Apr 21, 2015

The Ye group has just improved the accuracy of the world’s best optical atomic clock by another factor of three and set a new record for clock...

Published: Apr 20, 2015

The Ye Group recently investigated what first appeared to be a “bug” in an experiment and made an unexpected discovery about a new way to generate...

Published: Mar 23, 2015

One of the great challenges in the semiconductor and electronics industries is that as nanoscale features get smaller and processes get faster,...

Published: Mar 11, 2015

Supermassive black holes at the center of active galaxies are known as blazars when they are extremely bright and produce powerful jets of matter...

Published: Mar 02, 2015

The photoelectric effect has been well known since the publication of Albert Einstein’s 1905 paper explaining that quantized particles of light...

Published: Feb 27, 2015

When the Rey theory group first modeled a quantum system at JILA, it investigated the interactions of strontium atoms in the Ye group’s strontium-...

Published: Jan 20, 2015

Because red fluorescent proteins are important tools for cellular imaging, the Jimenez group is working to improve them to further biophysics...

Published: Dec 10, 2014

Until recently, researchers who wanted to understand how magnetic materials work had to reserve time on a large, stadium-sized X-ray machine...

Published: Oct 31, 2014

New theory describing the spin behavior of ultracold polar molecules is opening the door to explorations of exciting, new physics in JILA’s cold...

Published: Oct 14, 2014

Dynamical phase transitions in the quantum world are wildly noisy and chaotic. They don’t look anything like the phase transitions we observe in...

Published: Aug 25, 2014

A Be star is a luminous, blue B-type star with distinctive spectral lines that can provide two types of feasts (tasty snacks or full-scale...

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