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Thursday, October 25 2018: Dipole-dipole interactions between closely-trapped polar molecules have long been proposed for quantum information processing with neutral molecules.  This paper explores an extension of this idea to trapped molecular ions.  The apparent challenge of polarizing the ions in the lab frame (since they are ions, a static field does not work since it will simply accelerate them out of the trap) is circumvented by using oscillating dipole moments ("transition dipoles") instead of static moments.  The ions maintain their orientation and we show that the quantum logic is surprisingly robust.  More information can be found here. + continue reading
Thursday, October 18 2018: UCLA hosted a quantum computing panel discussion in the House Science Committee Briefing Room to answer questions about quantum information science.  Wes and Eric Hudson were on the panel along with Scott Aaronson (UT Austin), Jerome Luine (Northrop Grumman) and Hartmut Neven (Google).  Read the press release here. + continue reading
Thursday, October 4 2018: MFOCCs (Molecules Functionalized with Optical Cycling Centers) are new molecules with the unusual property that they retain atom-like scattering behavior despite the fact that the optically active atom is chemically bound to others.  Species of this type would be capable of state preparation and readout for quantum information processing.  Our group, in collaboration with 6 others, has begun a new project trying to implement these ideas in the lab.  Interested readers can find out more here. Figure: Maxim Ivanov + continue reading
Tuesday, September 4 2018: In an article about DARPA's 60th anniversary, PC Magazine cites the trapped ion gyroscope project, along with a great quote by Paul about fundamental research.  Paul's prestigous DARPA Young Faculty Award is providing partial support for the collaborative gyro project, as well as for other ground-breaking research into matter-wave interferometry in Paul's group.  You can read the article here: https://www.pcmag.com/news/363506/as-darpa-turns-60-whats-next + continue reading
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 the ions out of the trap, and allows direct loading of the trap with the comb.  This finding has important consequences for ions needing light in the deep UV, such as He+, where the only available laser light is in comb form. + 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, despite the fact that this reaction is exothermic and allowed even at zero temperature, the reaction rate is suppressed compared to capture theory, an effect that our theory collaboratrs show is due to a bottleneck in the reaction pathway called a submerged barrier.  Exotic effects of this type will be the target of study in this apparatus for the next phase of work. + 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 may help to demystify the appearance of this effect, which often seems surprising to students when they first encounter it. + 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
Thursday, October 26 2017: Adam and Randy have trapped and crystallized Ba+ ions in the gyroscope for the first time.  They're working with 138Ba+,  a stable isotope that does not have nuclear spin, and the internal state qubit will be encoded in Zeeman sublevels.  This little fella wants nothing more than to start orbiting.  + continue reading
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

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