Research Overview

James Thompson photo.

A general theme of our research is breaking quantum limits using collective interactions between laser-cooled atoms and a single mode of an optical cavity.

Superradiance We have demonstrated a supperadiant laser that operates quasi-continuously with as few as 0.2 intracavity photons. The atoms replace the photons as the carrier of phase information. This work challenges our notion of what a laser is, and might lead to the narrowest lasers ever developed with coherence lengths stretching from the earth to the sun.

Spin Squeezing We have broken the Standard Quantum Limit on phase estimation by generating a spin-squeezed state of many atoms. This works explores how to generate entanglement using long range interactions, and may lead to improved quantum sensors and tests of fundamental physics.

Research Areas

  • We laser cool rubidium atoms to microKelvin temperatures and trap them using optical lattices inside of a high finesse cavity.  We exploit the ground hyperfine states of rubidium to encode spin 1/2 states.  The high finesse cavity allows the light to interact with the atoms many times to create strong collective coupling between an ensemble of nearly a million atoms and optical modes of the cavity.

  • Need a brief statement about this research.

  • Need brief description of this research area.