Precision Measurement

Precision-measurement tools help scientists understand the universe, often through ground-breaking discoveries.

JILA physicists are at the forefront of efforts to invent and redefine tools for precision measurement. The tools developed at JILA are capable of probing tiny structures inside living cells, monitor the dynamics of chemical reactions, and directly measure the frequency of visible light. 

Historically, precision measurements at JILA helped pave the way for redefining the speed the light, defining the gravitational constant, and develop a universal constant time-keeping system. Current research into precision measurements at JILA could redefine the standard model of physics, realize the quantization of gravity, detect the astronomical collisions of black holes, search for evidence of dark matter, and even evolve our understanding of DNA and proteins, and the subsequent diseases that develop from their misfoldings.

Researchers in Precision Measurement

Photograph of Dana Anderson Dana Z. Anderson
Focus: Quantum Sensors, Precision Measurement Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Eric Cornell Eric Cornell
Focus: BEC, Precision Measurement, Molecules, Frequency Combs Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Murray Holland Murray Holland
Focus: Quantum Optics, Cold Atoms Role: Theorist
Photograph of Konrad Lehnert Konrad Lehnert
Focus: Quantum Nanomechanics, Microwave Quantum Optics, Mesoscopic Physics Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Judah Levine Judah Levine
Focus: Methods for distributing precise time and frequency information 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 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 Precision Measurement

JILA has a long history in quantum research, advancing the state of the art in the field as its Fellows study various quantum effects. One of these Fellowsis Adam Kaufman. Kaufman and his laboratory team work on quantum systems that are based on neutral atoms, investigating their capacities for quantum information storage and manipulation. The…

Functional materials—like molecular electronics, biomaterials, light-emitting diodes, or new photovoltaic materials—gain their electronic or photonic properties from complex and multifaceted interactions occurring at the elementary scales of their atomic or molecular constituents. In addition, the ability to control the functions of these…

Physics has always been a science of rules. In many situations, these rules lead to clear and simple theoretical predictions which, nevertheless, are hard to observe in actual experimental settings where other confounding effects may obscure the desired phenomena. For JILA and NIST Fellows Ana Maria Rey and Jun Ye, one type of phenomena they…