Atomic Physics

Atomic Physics

Atomic Physics

In our quest to explore the emergent behaviors of interacting quantum systems, our platform of choice, more often than not, is laser cooled atoms.


  • Laser-cooled atoms under high-vacuum provide an exquisitely isolated platform for studies of quantum coherence. This is because such atoms are cold enough that they hardly move, and due to their high-vacuum environment, can persist unperturbed.
  • Preparing cold atoms requires a combination of near-resonant lasers and magnetic fields to reach micro-Kelvin temperatures, and far-detuned, high-power lasers for trapping and transport.
  • These pristine systems can then be used as a platform for everything from synthetic quantum materials, to the world's most precise clocks, to gravity measurements, and even first-generation quantum computers.
  • The picture above shows a magneto-optically-trapped cloud of Rubidium-87 atoms on the left, and a smaller cloud of atoms which has be transported away in an optical conveyor belt-- it is on its way to an optical resonator in our cavity Rydberg polariton experiment!

Ningyuan Jia, Nathan Schine, Alexandros Georgakopoulos, Albert Ryou, Ariel Sommer, Jonathan Simon, "A Strongly Interacting Polaritonic Quantum Dot" arXiv:1705.07475

Jia Ningyuan, Alexandros Georgakopoulos, Albert Ryou, Nathan Schine, Ariel Sommer, Jonathan Simon, "Observation and characterization of cavity Rydberg polaritons" Physical Review A 4, 041802 2016

Philipp M Preiss, Ruichao Ma, M Eric Tai, Jonathan Simon, Markus Greiner, "Quantum gas microscopy with spin, atom-number, and multilayer readout" Physical Review A 4, 041602 2015

Ariel Sommer, Hans Peter B{"u}chler, Jonathan Simon, "Quantum Crystals and Laughlin Droplets of Cavity Rydberg Polaritons" arXiv:1506.00341 , 2015

Andrew J Daley, Jonathan Simon, "Effective three-body interactions via photon-assisted tunneling in an optical lattice" Physical Review A 5, 053619 2014