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, July 25, 2018: You may not know that it is possible to make a laser for sound, but that's just what Michael, Tony, Conrad, Xueping, and Andrew found when they laser cooled a trapped ion with an optical frequency comb.  In their paper that came out today, they report the creation of a phonon laser (a "phaser") from a single trapped ion.  It turns out that the gain saturation of the phaser keeps the blue-detuned comb teeth from heating...+ continue reading
Tuesday, June 19, 2018: In cold, dilute gases such as the interstellar medium (ISM), the chemical reactions are dominated by ionic species since their net charge allows them to polarize and "capture" nearby neutrals for reactions.  Tiangang and Gary have recetly released the first results from their "ISM in a bottle" experiment, where they controlled the reactions of laser-cooled Be+ ions with neutral water molecules.  Surprisingly,...+ continue reading
Thursday, March 8, 2018: Tony and Eliot (along with Paul Hamilton and Amar Vutha) have published a paper showing how an effect that is typically encountered in quantum systems (the "geometric phase" associated with the displacement operator) can be easily understood by looking at classical systems.  They performed an experiment with classical optics to measure this phase and to help demonstrate its mechanism of action.  The idea is that this paper...+ continue reading
Tuesday, November 14, 2017: Scarlett has been awarded a prize for her poster, "Stimulated Force for Optical Deceleration of Molecules" presented in the Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics category at the ABRCMS conference in Phoenix, Az. This is a prestegious award for an undergraduate researcher, and Scarlett's stellar work on our cold polar molecule experiment continues to impress.  Congratulations to Scarlett! + continue reading