Lab Members

Principal Investigator

James K. Thompson photo.

James K. Thompson | 303-492-7558 | Website | Thompson CV

Professor James K. Thompson earned his undergraduate degree in Physics from Florida State University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His doctoral work with David E. Pritchard focused on comparing the masses of two trapped ions with precision better than ten parts in a trillion for testing Einstein's mass-energy relationship E=mc2.  As part of this work, James and his colleague Simon Rainville also discovered a novel method for making non-demolition measurements of the quantum state of single molecules.  James was awarded the APS DAMOP thesis prize for this work.  James moved to the MIT laboratory of Vladan Vuletic at the MIT/Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms for his postdoctoral work, where he developed atomic quantum memories and entangled photon sources using laser-cooled atoms.  Since moving to JILA and the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado, James's work has focused on studying how to exploit collective and quantum effects to advance precision measurement and explore many-body physics. His work includes the demonstration of highly entangled spin-squeezed states, the realization of superradiant lasers based on mHz linewidth transitions, development of novel spectroscopy and laser cooling techniques, and exploration of dynamical phase transitions.

Research Associate

Vera Schäfer

Vera M. Schäfer | Website

Vera is a postdoctoral research associate working on realising a continuous-wave superradiant laser using Strontium atoms in a high finesse ring cavity. She joined the lab in 2021 coming from the University of Oxford where she was working on trapped ion quantum computing.


Graduate Student

Vanessa Koh

Vanessa Koh

Vanessa joined the lab in Fall 2019 after earning her MPhil from University of Cambridge. Her masters work with Ulrich Schneider focused on building an experiment to study many-body physics in systems with a kagome geometry. Previously, she worked at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore with Loh Huanqian on quantum simulation and with Murray Barrett on quantum metrology. She is currently working on the Rubidium experiment, which applies cavity-QED to study different phenomena such as matter-wave interferometry and momentum exchange physics. 

Chengyi Luo

Chengyi Luo

Chengyi joined the lab in spring 2018, after graduating from Sun Yat-sen University. At SYSU, he worked with Prof. Chaohong Lee on a theory project about entanglement-enhanced atomic gyroscope, which later translated into his interest in AMO physics. After working with Prof. Wes Campbell on building an ex-vacuo ion trap as a summer student, Chengyi switched his focus from theory to experiment. He is currently working on the Rubidium experiment to study squeezed matter-wave interferometry and the interplay between the matter-wave and an optical cavity. 

Zhijing Niu

Zhijing Niu | Website

Zhijing joined the group in fall 2021 after graduating from Xi’an Jiaotong University. In the past, she worked on condensed matter experiments with Prof. Mengkun Liu at Stony Brook University as an exchange student. After that, she switched her interest to AMO physics and did a gap year in Prof. John Doyle’s group at Harvard University where she worked on laser cooling ytterbium hydroxide. She did her first year of graduate school remotely in China and worked in Prof. ‪Matthias Weidemüller’s group on Rydberg atoms at USTC. She is currently working on the strontium CW experiment to build an ultra-low linewidth CW superradiant laser.  

Eric Yilun Song

Eric Yilun Song

Eric joined the lab in Spring 2022 after graduating from New York University Shanghai. At NYU, he worked on entangling BECs with Prof. Tim Byrnes, as well as phase transitions in the Vicsek model and Ising model with Prof. Paul Chaikin, Charles Newman and Daniel Stein. Currently he is working on simulating many-body physics with strontium atoms.


Dylan Young photo.

Dylan Young | Website

Dylan joined the lab in Fall 2018 after graduating from Yale University. In the past, he has worked with Sohrab Ismail-Beigi in computational condensed matter physics, as well as with Liang Jiang on quantum error correcting codes. He is currently working on the strontium experiment, exploring spin squeezing and beyond mean-field dynamics.