About the Regal Group

We are grateful for funding for our research from these agencies

Our quantum systems explore the frontiers of control in atomic, optical, and mesoscopic physics. We laser cool the vibrations of mechanical objects that can measure displacements and extremely small forces at quantum limits.  We are able to entangle and interfere single atoms placed atom-by-atom in identical quantum states.  Our work enables transduction between disparate quantum systems and exploration of quantum many-body physics.

Research Areas

  • Laser cooling of atoms uses radiation forces of light to push on atoms, and has revolutionized atomic physics.  In our work, in a field known as optomechanics, we now have the capacity to cool vibrations of mesoscopic objects using radiation pressure combined with cryogenic cooling.  We pick out particular nanomechanical modes of the solid that are well-isolated from their environment, and that we can control with light using an extremely-precise optical cavity.

  • We are studying a quantum system of bosonic 87Rb atoms in optical tweezers assembled particle-by-particle.  We have shown optical tweezers can be used to confine atoms sufficiently to place them in their motional ground state via Raman sideband laser cooling.  With this ability, we make bosonic atoms indistinguishable in all but their positional degree of freedom, and we can interfer two atoms to see the analog of the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect with atoms. 

  • Electro-optic devices are ubiquitous in classical optical systems.  In the quantum domain, an electro-optic device would also be very handy, for example, to transduce states created with superconducting quantum bits (qubits) to optical light.  However, at the moment no electro-optic component exists that is low enough noise and efficient enough to work with quantum states.

  • We are building a new apparatus that will study large quantum systems of Rydberg atoms in optical tweezers harnessing a cryogenic, high-vacuum environment.  This work is collaboration with the Kaufman group at JILA.  Check back for more information!

Research Highlights

  • Child wears a helmet made up of more than 100 OPM sensors.

    A Look at Colorado's Quantum Revolution

    More than 400 years later, scientists are in the midst of an equally-important revolution. They’re diving into a previously-hidden realm—far wilder than anything van Leeuwenhoek, known as the “father of microbiology,” could have…
    Read More

  • The transducer developed by the Lehnert and Regal research groups uses side-banded cooling to convert microwave photons to optical photons

    Connecting Microwave and Optical Frequencies through the Ground State of a Micromechanical Object

    The process of developing a quantum computer has seen significant progress in the past 20 years. Quantum computers are designed to solve complex problems using the intricacies of quantum mechanics. These computers can also communicate…
    Read More

  • An illustration of the efficient and continuously operating electro-optomechanical transducer whose mechanical mode has been optically sideband-cooled to its quantum ground state. This is the tool that will be used to convert microwave photons into optical photons to eventually send quantum signals over long distances.

    New Research Reveals A More Robust Qubit System, even with a Stronger Laser Light

    Qubits are a basic building block for quantum computers, but they’re also notoriously fragile—tricky to observe without erasing their information in the process. Now, new research from CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards…
    Read More

  • Photo of Cindy Regal and Findings Mural

    Where Science Meets Art: A Mural on AMO Physics

    JILA Fellow Cindy Regal has helped consult on a new mural placed in Washington Park in Denver, Colorado. The mural, titled Leading Light, loosely alludes to AMO physics…
    Read More

  • Photograph of an Infrared optical tweezers device.

    Optical tweezers achieve new feats of capturing atoms

    Trapping single atoms is a bit like herding cats, which makes researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder expert feline wranglers. In a new study, a team led by physicist Cindy Regal showed that it could …
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Quiet Drumming: Reducing Noise for the Quantum Internet

    Quantum computers are set to revolutionize society. With their expansive power and speed, quantum computers could reduce today’s impossibly complex problems, like artificial intelligence and weather forecasts, to mere algorithms. But as…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Chameleon Interferometer

    The Regal group recently met the challenge of measurements in an extreme situation with a device called an interferometer. The researchers succeeded by using creative alterations to the device itself and quantum correlations. Quantum…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    How Cold Can a Tiny Drum Get?

    Bob Peterson and his colleagues in the Lehnert-Regal lab recently set out to try something that had never been done before: use laser cooling to systematically reduce the temperature of a tiny drum made of silicon nitride as low as…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Natural Born Entanglers

    The Regal and Rey groups have come up with a novel way to generate and propagate quantum entanglement [1], a key feature required for quantum computing. Quantum computing requires that bits of information called qubits be moved from one…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    An Array of Possibilities

    Graduate student Brian Lester of the Regal group has taken an important step toward building larger, more complex systems from single-atom building blocks. His accomplishment opens the door to advances in neutral-atom quantum computing…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Little Shop of Atoms

    Graduate student Adam Kaufman and his colleagues in the Regal and Rey groups have demonstrated a key first step in assembling quantum matter one atom at a time. Kaufman accomplished this feat by laser-cooling two atoms of rubidium (…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Good Vibrations: The Experiment

    The Regal-Lehnert collaboration has just taken a significant step towards the goal of one day building a quantum information network. Large-scale fiber-optic networks capable of preserving fragile quantum states (which encode…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Squeeze Machine

    Research associate Tom Purdy and his colleagues in the Regal group have just built an even better miniature light-powered machine that can now strip away noise from a laser beam. Their secret: a creative workaround of a quantum limit…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Position Wanted

    Researchers in the Regal group have gotten so good at using laser light to track the exact position of a tiny drum that they have been able to observe a limit imposed by the laws of quantum mechanics. In a recent experiment, research…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Everything's Cool with Atom

    The Regal group recently completed a nifty feat that had never been done before: The researchers grabbed onto a single trapped rubidium atom (87Rb) and placed it in its quantum ground state. This experiment has identified an…
    Read More

Research Highlights

  • Child wears a helmet made up of more than 100 OPM sensors.

    A Look at Colorado's Quantum Revolution

    More than 400 years later, scientists are in the midst of an equally-important revolution. They’re diving into a previously-hidden realm—far wilder than anything van Leeuwenhoek, known as the “father of microbiology,” could have…
    Read More

  • The transducer developed by the Lehnert and Regal research groups uses side-banded cooling to convert microwave photons to optical photons

    Connecting Microwave and Optical Frequencies through the Ground State of a Micromechanical Object

    The process of developing a quantum computer has seen significant progress in the past 20 years. Quantum computers are designed to solve complex problems using the intricacies of quantum mechanics. These computers can also communicate…
    Read More

  • An illustration of the efficient and continuously operating electro-optomechanical transducer whose mechanical mode has been optically sideband-cooled to its quantum ground state. This is the tool that will be used to convert microwave photons into optical photons to eventually send quantum signals over long distances.

    New Research Reveals A More Robust Qubit System, even with a Stronger Laser Light

    Qubits are a basic building block for quantum computers, but they’re also notoriously fragile—tricky to observe without erasing their information in the process. Now, new research from CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards…
    Read More

  • Photo of Cindy Regal and Findings Mural

    Where Science Meets Art: A Mural on AMO Physics

    JILA Fellow Cindy Regal has helped consult on a new mural placed in Washington Park in Denver, Colorado. The mural, titled Leading Light, loosely alludes to AMO physics…
    Read More

  • Photograph of an Infrared optical tweezers device.

    Optical tweezers achieve new feats of capturing atoms

    Trapping single atoms is a bit like herding cats, which makes researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder expert feline wranglers. In a new study, a team led by physicist Cindy Regal showed that it could …
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Quiet Drumming: Reducing Noise for the Quantum Internet

    Quantum computers are set to revolutionize society. With their expansive power and speed, quantum computers could reduce today’s impossibly complex problems, like artificial intelligence and weather forecasts, to mere algorithms. But as…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Chameleon Interferometer

    The Regal group recently met the challenge of measurements in an extreme situation with a device called an interferometer. The researchers succeeded by using creative alterations to the device itself and quantum correlations. Quantum…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    How Cold Can a Tiny Drum Get?

    Bob Peterson and his colleagues in the Lehnert-Regal lab recently set out to try something that had never been done before: use laser cooling to systematically reduce the temperature of a tiny drum made of silicon nitride as low as…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Natural Born Entanglers

    The Regal and Rey groups have come up with a novel way to generate and propagate quantum entanglement [1], a key feature required for quantum computing. Quantum computing requires that bits of information called qubits be moved from one…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    An Array of Possibilities

    Graduate student Brian Lester of the Regal group has taken an important step toward building larger, more complex systems from single-atom building blocks. His accomplishment opens the door to advances in neutral-atom quantum computing…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Little Shop of Atoms

    Graduate student Adam Kaufman and his colleagues in the Regal and Rey groups have demonstrated a key first step in assembling quantum matter one atom at a time. Kaufman accomplished this feat by laser-cooling two atoms of rubidium (…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Good Vibrations: The Experiment

    The Regal-Lehnert collaboration has just taken a significant step towards the goal of one day building a quantum information network. Large-scale fiber-optic networks capable of preserving fragile quantum states (which encode…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    The Squeeze Machine

    Research associate Tom Purdy and his colleagues in the Regal group have just built an even better miniature light-powered machine that can now strip away noise from a laser beam. Their secret: a creative workaround of a quantum limit…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Position Wanted

    Researchers in the Regal group have gotten so good at using laser light to track the exact position of a tiny drum that they have been able to observe a limit imposed by the laws of quantum mechanics. In a recent experiment, research…
    Read More

  • Thumbnail

    Everything's Cool with Atom

    The Regal group recently completed a nifty feat that had never been done before: The researchers grabbed onto a single trapped rubidium atom (87Rb) and placed it in its quantum ground state. This experiment has identified an…
    Read More

In the Spotlight

Cindy regal.
November 11, 2020: JILA Fellow Cindy Regal Named Baur/SPIE Endowed Chair in Optics and Photonics

Regal is the first recipient for JILA's new endowed chair in optics and photonics.


Read More
JILA building
August 26, 2020: New $115 Million Quantum Systems Accelerator to Pioneer Quantum Technologies for Discovery Science

A new national quantum research center draws on JILA Fellows' and their expertise to make the United States an international leader in quantum technology.


Read More
Thumbnail
July 24, 2020: JILA Fellow Cindy Regal Wins 2020 FRED Award

JILA Fellow Cindy Regal has been selected as the 2020 recipient of Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s Cottrell Frontiers in Research Excellence and Discovery (FRED) Award. The $250,000 FRED Award recognizes and rewards innovative research that could transform an area of science.


Read More
2D Membrane illustration.
December 29, 2019: 2D membrane phononic crystals for force sensing

Analysis and new designs of low mass SiN mechanical defects in 2D acoustic shields for force sensing -- now published in Physical Review Applied.


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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