Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Student working on a physics lab

Examining and manipulating matter at the scale of the atom and molecule. Attosecond to femtosecond processes, quantum properties of atoms and photons, testing fundamental physics.

Research in atomic, molecular, laser and X-ray physics at Stanford takes place in the Physics and Applied Physics Departments and in the Photon Science Department at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. A rich set of topics are explored in the Varian Physics Laboratory, the Ginzton Lab and through the PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science. SLAC houses both the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and the Linac Coherent Light Source.

The structure and dynamics of matter at the atomic scale -- from Angstroms to nanometers in space and attoseconds to femtoseconds in time -- are studied using strong laser and x-ray fields to control and probe the quantum evolution of atoms and molecules. Basic questions in atomic physics are addressed through measurements of "simple" atoms, often laser-cooled and at the quantum-measurement level, leading to applications in real-world systems. Precision control of lasers and atoms are used for tests of space-time, advanced optical clocks, ultra-fast timing, atomic sensors, and ultra-sensitive detection of trace atoms.  Quantum sensors of rotation and acceleration based on cold atoms (quantum metrology) are being developed for tests of general relativity, the investigation of many-body quantum effects in Bose-condensed vapors, and ultra-fast laser-induced phenomena. Other efforts aim to create and study novel quantum many-body systems, including quantum soft matter, using new techniques developed for creating and manipulating exotic dipolar ultracold atoms in optical lattices, near cryogenic surfaces, and inside multimode optical resonators.  This research aims to elucidate the interplay between superfluidity, crystallinity, and magnetism to provide better intuition about the organizing principles of strongly interacting matter. Future efforts at Stanford will focus on the generation and detection of highly entangled many-body states of ultracold atoms, primarily using techniques of cavity QED, the exploration of quantum critical phenomena and routes to topological encoding of quantum information.

Related News

Monika Schleier-Smith
From: Stanford University | Stanford, California
Year: 2023
Subject: Physics

Kasevich Lab

Source: Physics World

Detecting an Aharonov–Bohm effect for gravity

To Chris Overstreet…

Mark Kasevich

"The impact of using entanglement in this configuration was that it produced better sensor…

When built, the MAGIS-100 atom interferometer will be the largest in the world. But it's still missing a key component: a detailed camera. Stanford University


Source: Popular Science 

A research team from different groups in Stanford, California,…

Mark Kasevich

Mark Kasevich is an experimental physicist whose work informs development of high-accuracy…

From left, Eric Cooper, Philipp Kunkel, Avikar Periwal and Monika Schleier-Smith.


(Image credit: Khoi Huynh)

Source: Stanford News

In a new study, Stanford researchers demonstrate how to manipulate…