Mode-locked lasers have the ability to operate as thousands of continuous-wave lasers at once, which makes them useful for novel cooling applications.
We are exploring techniques to produce samples of gas-phase molecules near absolute zero for use as precision sensors and quantum simulators.
Naturally occurring atoms have given us headaches for years, so why not make the perfect atom?
How quickly would you get lost in an unfamiliar city without GPS? We're working on inertial navigation with matter wave interferometry.
Trapped atomic ions are being pursued as an architecture for building a quantum information processor capable of outperforming traditional supercomputers.
Using trapped ions and cold molecular beams, we can mimic the environment of the cold, dilute interstellar medium to study its chemistry in detail.

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Welcome to Wes Campbell's research group in the Physics & Astronomy Department at UCLA.

Our research uses ultra-cold atoms and molecules to learn about the physical processes that permeate our world. We are specifically focused on the physics of quantum mechanical systems that involve many-body interactions, where our ability to theoretically describe and numerically simulate the microscopic features is severely limited. Our approach (shared by others, and known in the field as "quantum simulation") is to use well-controlled samples of atoms and molecules to build tiny, physical emulators of the physics we are investigating. By utilizing these atoms as microscopic computers that can do the work for us, we hope to be able to pick up where supercomputer simulations become intractable and use our quantum simulators to help us to design and understand new materials, perform demanding computations, and learn about the physical universe.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017: Dave and Justin have recently trapped a synthetic isotope of barium and performed some preliminary spectroscopy of its structure.  Singly-ionized barium-133 has an internal structure that makes it the envy of all trapped ion qubits -- the spin-1/2 nucleus makes it easy to initialize, the metastable D states are extremely long-lived for a process called "shelving," and the lasers are all in the friendly visible part of the spectrum...+ continue reading
Thursday, February 23, 2017: Quantum mechanics endows massive particles with wave-like properties that can be put to good use in sensing applications.  Matter-wave interferometers have been made using everything from electrons to bucky-balls, but precision sensing applications with matter waves have generally been restricted to neutral atoms, which can be produced in large numbers and controlled fairly well.  We have recently invented a way to use trapped atomic...+ continue reading
Tuesday, October 11, 2016: Andrew and Xueping have successfully demonstrated a technique that is designed to laser cool and trap atoms such as hydrogen and carbon (see publications for a link to the paper).  These species play the starring role in organic chemistry, yet are essentially beyond the reach of laser cooling and trapping due to the extremely deep UV light needed for laser cooling them.  By using a frequency comb instead of a narrow-band laser, Xueping...+ continue reading
Tuesday, December 22, 2015: Tony has made a nice beam profiler from a Raspberry Pi that was recently featured in a story on the blog HACK A DAY.  This idea was also expolred by undergraduate Maxx Tepper for his Physics 199 project.  This device allows us to measure the transverse intensity profile of our laser beams with an inexpensive, protable device.  Source code can be found in the link on the blog post. + continue reading