Welcome to Wes Campbell's Reseach Group at UCLA Physics & Astronomy

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 information, which includes advanced sensing, simulation, and computing applications.

We use gas and liquid phase atoms and molecules as tiny computers to perform tasks that cannot be simulated on classical computers. Our approach is to focus on novel species and novel ways to control them to leverage the built-in "quantumness" of these molecules for higher performance in these applications.

Latest News

Big Molecules Acting Like Atoms

Apr 20, 2021: Optical cycling centers are a hypothetical functional groups designed to allow a molecule to fluoresce indefinitely under laser excitation by virtue of being completely decoupled from molecular vibration. Led by our collaborators in theoretical quantum chemistry, we have theoretically investigated the potential extension of these ideas to molecules with more than one carbon ring. The paper describes how this might work and what the next challenges in scaling system size are likely to be.

Review of Quantum Simulations

Apr 7, 2021: Trapped atomic ions can be used as quantum simulators of lattice spin models. A new review article (that took us 5 years to write) describes the current state of the art and examines some of the future directions for these devices.

Path to Ultracold Organic Molecules

Mar 26, 2021: Laser cooling can refrigerate samples of gas-phase atoms to a fraction of a mili-deree above absolute zero. Central to this technique is the ability for the cooled species to to scatter many photons without bleaching out, which is generally lacking for molecules. Along with the Alexandrova group UCLA (and others), we have shown how to extend this to molecules with carbon rings by employing a seemingly unrelated conecpt from 1930s chemistry called Hammett parameterization. We hope the insights presented in this paper are just the first in a series of discoveries for how to use the vast library of organic chemistry knowledge to achieve single molecule control at the level of single quantum states.


Jan 20, 2021: Along with the Hamilton group at UCLA, we have recently shown how a laser can push a trapped ion prependicular to the laser propagation direction with a sign given by the ion's qubit state. This is a new example of a spin-dependent force, and may be important for achieving high fidelity operations in future quantum computers.