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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.  This work is a collaboration with Eric Hudson, and you can learn more by reading the paper, which came out today in Physical Review Letters. + 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 ions as a gyroscope (rotation sensor), where the high degree of control found in this system can be used to overcome the small numbers of particles involved in the interference.  This work may someday be used in navigation applications where GPS (another useful product of atomic physics!) is not available, such as underwater or in the event of severe space weather. + 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 and Andrew have shown that a two-photon transition can be driven with far greater efficiency than a frequency doubled continuous wave laser can do, and that this comb can be used to cool and trap the atoms.  The trapping came as a surprise to us, because the possibility that spectator comb teeth drive an undesired transition seemed very likely to us.  Nonetheless, this technique works very well, and seems to open the door to ultracold... + 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
Monday, May 11 2015: We have successfully trapped and cooled 174Yb ions in our oblate Paul trap which was fabricated by Translume. In the image, there is a 2D crystal of Yb ions.  + continue reading
Wednesday, December 10 2014: UCLA will be part of a five-campus effort in quantum simulation known as the California Institute for Quantum Emulation.  Along with the groups led by David Weld (UCSB), Sid Parameswaran (UCI), Dan Stamper-Kurn (UC Berkeley), Congjun Wu (UCSD), Julio Barreiro (UCSD), and Joel Moore (UC Berkeley), we will be working to understand some of the most complex quantum phenomena in physics, known as quantum many-body systems.  This joint theory/experiment effort will be using well-controlled atomic camples to emulate strongly-coupled quantum phenomena on a microscopic level.  This institute is being supported though the UC President’s Research Catalyst Awards, and the California Nanosystems Institute. + continue reading
Tuesday, July 29 2014: Congratulations to Michael for passing his oral qualifying exam!  The Vin Scully bobblehead seal of approval signifies that Michael is now a doctoral candidate, and we look forward to great things as Michael works toward his thesis. + continue reading
Friday, June 13 2014: Trapping coulomb crystal linear chain in  a RF paul trap. + continue reading
Wednesday, June 11 2014: Challenged to describe our research using only the ten one hundred most common words, here is what Wes came up with: We make fast computers from tiny pieces of air.  We point light at little air parts to make them ice cold, then make them jump around and hit into each other.  We can see the answer at the end by how they look, dark or bright.  Dark parts mean one answer, bright parts mean another.  Even though this computer is tiny, we can beat a great big one, because very cold, very small stuff  can do more than one thing at the same time. + continue reading
Friday, May 30 2014: The ion team has seen their first 174Yb ion in the new four rod trap. This linear trap consists of four 50 µm diameter wires which are spaced 350 µm from each other. The rods are held and separated by a fused silica piece which was fabricated by Translume in Ann Arbor. In the picture these fused silica pieces are attached to a monolithic stainless steel trap mount. In order from preventing the atoms escaping the trap two endcaps have been added to which we apply DC voltages. In the top right a microscope image of the fused silica piece is shown. + continue reading

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