News archive

Scarlett Yu selected for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

The National Science Foundation has selected Seejia Scarlett Yu for a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship.  The NSF GRFs are designed to recognize and support outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.  Congratulations, Scarlett, for this well deserved award!



Quantum Logic with Trapped Molecular Ions

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. Continue reading.


Mr. Campbell goes to Washington

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). 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. Continue reading.

Paul Hamilton quoted in PC Magazine story about DARPA

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. Continue reading.


Cold chemistry with water

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 recently 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.

Displacement phases appear in classical systems

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.  

This paper may help to demystify the appearance of this effect, which often seems surprising to students when they first encounter it.

Scarlett Yu wins poster prize at ABRCMS

Scarlett Yu 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, Arizona.

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!

Ion in the gyroscope trap

Adam West 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. 

Radioactive quantum computing

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.