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
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
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

  • JILA is the host of multiple centers within its campus. Some are National Science Foundation (NSF) funded and others funded by more private centers. Each center focuses on specific topics to advance the knowledge, education, and research on some of the biggest ideas within physics. 

  • For the first time, researchers can turn on an electric field to manipulate molecular interactions, get them to cool down further, and start to explore collective physics where all molecules are coupled to each other.

  • Building on their newfound ability to induce molecules in ultracold gases to interact with each other over long distances, JILA researchers have used an electric “knob” to influence molecular collisions and dramatically raise or lower chemical reaction rates.