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Manipulating Atoms and Molecules

Content About: Manipulating Atoms and Molecules

Published: 08/02/2017 - 1:51pm Type of Content: News

Ana Maria Rey has been appointed a NIST Fellow as of August 21,2017 by the Acting Director of NIST. JILA is a research and training partnership between the University of Colorado and NIST, and Ana Maria is one of the several JILA Fellows who are NIST employees. Ana Maria was named a NIST Fellow in recognition of her world-leading program in quantum theory, her pioneering work in quantum many-...

Published: 12/21/2016 - 11:09am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Research associate Shimon Kolkowitz and his colleagues in the Ye group and Rey theory group have developed a powerful new way to experimentally simulate the complex behavior of electrons in solids. In these experiments, the team uses its strontium lattice optical clock not to track time, but to take advantage of the ultracold atoms in the clock mimicking the quantum behavior of electrons in a...

Published: 11/11/2016 - 3:12pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

For a long time, there’s been a mystery concerning how tiny interactions between individual atoms could lead to really big changes in a whole cloud of independent-minded particles. The reason this behavior is mysterious is that the atoms interact weakly, and only when they are very close to each other. Yet, the atoms clear across the cloud seem to know when it’s time to participate in some big...

Published: 10/27/2016 - 12:06pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Using frequency comb spectroscopy, the Ye group has directly observed transient intermediate steps in a chemical reaction that plays a key role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, and chemistry in the interstellar medium. The group was able to make this first-ever measurement because frequency combs generate a wide range of laser wavelengths in ultrafast pulses. These pulses made it possible...

Published: 09/26/2016 - 11:55am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Exciting new theory from the Rey group reveals the profound effects of electron interactions on the flow of electric currents in metals. Controlling currents of strongly interacting electrons is critical to the development of tomorrow’s advanced microelectronics systems, including spintronics devices that will process data faster, use less power than today’s technology, and operate in...

Published: 06/20/2016 - 10:12am Type of Content: News

Adam Kaufman has been awarded the 2016 DAMOP Thesis Prize for his outstanding thesis research on assembling neutral atoms in optical tweezers, work conducted in the Regal group at JILA. As part of this  work, Kaufman and his coworkers developed an experiment that allowed the team to use laser cooling to assemble arrays of ground-state neutral atoms in optical tweezers. First, the team...

Published: 05/04/2016 - 11:26am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye group just solved a major problem for using molecular fingerprinting techniques to identify large, complex molecules: The researchers used an infrared (IR) frequency comb laser to identify four different large or complicated molecules. The IR laser-light absorption technique worked well for the first time with these larger molecules because the group combined it with buffer gas...

Published: 03/31/2016 - 10:20am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Ye and Rey groups have discovered the strange rules of quantum baseball in which strontium (Sr) atoms are the players, and photons of light are the balls. The balls control the players by not only getting the atoms excited, but also working together. The players coordinate throwing and catching the balls. While this is going on, the balls can change the state of the players! Sometimes the...

Published: 11/02/2015 - 9:15am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

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 location to another, be available to interact in prescribed ways, and then be isolated for storage or subsequent interactions. The group showed that single...

Published: 03/02/2015 - 8:09am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The photoelectric effect has been well known since the publication of Albert Einstein’s 1905 paper explaining that quantized particles of light can stimulate the emission of electrons from materials. The nature of this quantum mechanical effect is closely related to the question how much time it might take for an electron to leave a material such as a helium atom. The exciting news at JILA is...

Published: 08/18/2014 - 7:47am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Symmetries described by SU(N) group theory made it possible for physicists in the 1950s to explain how quarks combine to make protons and neutrons and JILA theorists in 2013 to model the behavior of atoms inside a laser. Now, the Ye group has observed a manifestation of SU(N≤10) symmetry in the magnetic behavior of strontium-87 (87Sr) atoms trapped in crystals of light created by intersecting...

Published: 01/14/2014 - 8:17am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Capturing and controlling the fleeting dance of electrons as they rearrange during a chemical reaction has been a long-standing challenge in science for several decades. Since electrons are much lighter than atoms, they can respond almost instantaneously – on time scales of hundreds of attoseconds, where an attosecond is 10-18 s.

Fortunately, over the last decade scientists have created...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 2:49pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Most scientists think it is really hard to correlate, or entangle, the quantum spin states of many particles in an ultracold gas of fermions. Fermions are particles like electrons (and some atoms and molecules) whose quantum spin states prevent them from occupying the same lowest-energy state and forming a Bose-Einstein condensate. Entanglement means that two or more particles interact and...

Published: 04/09/2013 - 3:19pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Former research associate Antonio Picón, research associate Agnieszka Jaron-Becker, and Fellow Andreas Becker have discovered a way to make the hydrogen molecular ion (H2+) fall apart into its constituent atoms without exciting or ionizing the electron. This startling finding was a big surprise for the researchers, who recently figured out how to do something that conventional wisdom said was...

Published: 09/25/2012 - 2:45pm Type of Content: News

Eric Cornell has won the Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal for molecular spectroscopy from the Ioannes Markus Marci Spectroscopic Society of the Czech Republic. The award recognizes Cornell's work (in collaboration with Jun Ye) in the search for the electric dipole moment of the electron.

Published: 04/10/2013 - 11:59am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Graduate student Dan Hickstein (Kapteyn/Murnane group) recently investigated the behavior of electrons ripped from atoms and molecules by intense infrared laser pulses.

He and his colleagues collected the liberated electrons onto a detector where they formed intricate patterns that looked a lot like giant spiders (Figure 1). An international team of scientists studied these spider-...

Published: 08/31/2012 - 11:42am Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

The Kapteyn/Murnane group had the idea that it might be possible to produce bright, laser-like beams of x-rays using an ultrafast laser that fits on a small optics table. It was one of those “it probably can’t be done, but we have to try” moments that motivated them to put together a team that includes the Becker theory group, and 16 collaborators in New York, Austria, and...

Published: 01/25/2012 - 5:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Incredibly sensitive measurements can be made using particles that are correlated in a special way (called entanglement.)  Entanglement is one of the spooky properties of quantum mechanics – two particles interact and retain a connection, even if separated by huge distances.  If you do something to one of the particles, its linked partners will also respond.

However,...

Published: 09/29/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

Does the electron have an electric dipole moment (eEDM)? If it does, the standard model of elementary particle physics says this dipole moment is many orders of magnitude below what can be measured experimentally. As Fellow John Bohn quips, "It's a darn small one."

On the other hand, various extensions of the standard model predict a much larger eEDM that might be just within reach of a...

Published: 04/08/2006 - 6:00pm Type of Content: Article-Research Highlight

One fun thing theorists do is undertake creative projects that predict phenomena that haven't yet been observed experimentally. In fact, sometimes they even predict things no one has ever imagined before. In other cases, the goal is to unravel the mechanism behind an experimental result that initially seems to conflict with the known laws of quantum physics. Fellow Chris Greene's...

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