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

To engineer materials with unique properties, like superconductivity, scientists dive into the quantum interactions between electrons and vibrational particles called phonons. When electrons and phonons strongly interact, they behave as “quasi” particles, not single isolated particles. These interactions occur on extremely short timescales:…

Quantum materials, a fascinating class of materials that harness the power of quantum mechanics, are revolutionizing modern science and technology. Quantum materials often possess exotic states of matter, such as superconductivity or magnetic ordering, that defy conventional understanding and can be manipulated for various technological…

Though microscopes have been in use for centuries, there is still much that we cannot see at the smallest length scales. Current microscopies range from the simple optical microscopes used in high school science classes, to x-ray microscopes that can image through visibly-opaque objects, to electron microscopes that use electrons instead of…