Project Description

Question: Is an atom a particle or a wave? Answer: Why not both??? Welcome to the fascinating realm of quantum physics, where particles tunnel through barriers they shouldn't be able to pass, and if you know exactly where a particle is located you have no idea how fast it is moving. As exotic as this sounds, quantum physics is everywhere in your life from governing how electrons behave in the device you are reading this on to explaining the color of the sun. In my lab, we explore the realm of quantum physics using gases of atoms that we cool counterintuitively using a laser to temperatures only a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. At these ultracold temperatures, the rules of quantum mechanics govern the behavior of these atoms and we use lasers and magnetic fields to create and explore novel states of matter. I am particularly interested in developing new tools to control ultracold atoms in different ways that expands the parameter space we can explore with this versatile experimental platform.

Technology or Computational Component

We are just starting the process of building the apparatus in my lab that will be used to trap and cool atoms, so there is lots to do! Possible projects include building a computer program to interface with the hardware on our apparatus and learning to build circuits from discrete electronics that will be used to control various parts of the experiment. A student working with me can also expect to interact regularly with graduate students in my group as well and take part in discussions and group meetings to learn about the big picture physics goals that we are working towards.