Laser Physics

JILA physicists manipulate light to produce ultrashort laser pulses and coherent light sources at exotic wavelengths. As a leading developer of ultrashort laser pulses, JILA researchers have designed pulsed and single ultrashort pulses of light faster than the speed at which molecules form (1 femtosecond, or 10-15 s) and the speed at which electrons move (1 attosecond, or 10-18 s). JILA researchers pioneered the development of tabletop extreme ultraviolet coherent light sources, which opened a new dimension of laser applications.
This research explores the complex dance of electrons in matter, and therefore uncovers answers as to how materials bond and how magnetic systems can be manipulated. These studies have a wide breath of applications, including chemistry, biology, material sciences, medicine, telecommunications, and nanotechnology.

Researchers in Laser Physics

Photograph of Andreas Becker Andreas Becker
Focus: Ultrafast Phenomena, Attosecond Dynamics, Coherent Control Role: Theorist
Photograph of Murray Holland Murray Holland
Focus: Quantum Optics, Cold Atoms Role: Theorist
Photograph of Agnieszka Jaron-Becker Agnieszka Jaron-Becker
Focus: Theoretical AMO, Ultrafast Laser Science Role: Theorist
Photograph of Henry Kapteyn Henry Kapteyn
Focus: Ultrafast Lasers & X-Rays, Imaging, Chemical Physics, Quantum & Optical Science, Nanoscience, Materials, Molecular Science Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Margaret Murnane Margaret Murnane
Focus: Ultrafast Lasers & X-Rays, Imaging, Chemical Physics, Quantum & Optical Science, Nanoscience, Materials, Molecular Science Role: Experimentalist
Markus Raschke Markus Raschke
Focus: Ultrafast Nano-optics, Chemical Physics, Nanoscience Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Cindy Regal Cindy Regal, Baur-SPIE Chair in Optical Physics and Photonics at JILA
Focus: Quantum Nanomechanics, Single Atom Trapping Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Ana Maria Rey Ana Maria Rey
Focus: Cold Atoms and Molecules, Quantum Many-body Systems, Precision Measurement, Quantum Information Role: Theorist
Photograph of Thomas Schibli Thomas Schibli
Focus: Optics and photonics through advanced functional materials, novel laser systems and measurement techniques Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of James Thompson James Thompson
Focus: Cold Atoms, Quantum Optics and Information, Precision Measurement Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Jun Ye Jun Ye
Focus: Cold Atoms and Molecules, Frequency Combs, Ultrastable Lasers, Precision Measurement Role: Experimentalist

Recent Highlights in Laser Physics

In daily life, when two objects are “indistinguishable,” it’s due to an imperfect state of knowledge. As a street magician scrambles the cups and balls, you could, in principle, keep track of which ball is which as they are passed between the cups. However, at the smallest scales in nature, even the magician cannot tell one ball from another.…

While it may not look like it, the interstellar space between stars is far from empty. Atoms, ions, molecules, and more reside in this ethereal environment known as the Interstellar Medium (ISM). The ISM has fascinated scientists for decades, as at least 200 unique molecules form in its cold, low-pressure environment. It’s a subject that ties…

Within atomic and laser physics communities, scientist John “Jan” Hall is a key figure in the history of laser frequency stabilization and precision measurement using lasers. Hall's work revolved around understanding and manipulating stable lasers in ways that were revolutionary for their time. His work laid a technical foundation for measuring…