Measurement. Science is rooted in measurement: it is from measurements, as unified by theory, that understanding is born. Our comprehension of the universe is therefore bounded by our ability to observe and shaped by human creativity.  Scientific progress is driven by the identification of new physical systems and measurement techniques, leading to new conceptual understanding. Our experiments use systems of ultracold neutral atoms, quantum gases, that make quantum physics manifest in the laboratory. Many properties of these systems can be understood in the intellectual context of many-body physics which describes systems from the commonplace such as crystals, fluids, and semiconductors, to the extreme such as superconductors, quantum Hall systems, and neutron stars.  Many-body physics asks how the properties of individual components — atoms, electrons, nucleons — give rise to the observed macroscopic phenomena.

Ultracold atoms are a very different sort of system than conventional materials, composed of a few hundred to a few hundred million atoms, with densities ranging from 1012 cm-3 to 1015 cm-3, and at temperatures from below 1 nK to a couple uK.  These atomic systems are unique in the simplicity of their underlying Hamiltonian along with a singular capacity for controlling and engineering their quantum degrees of freedom.

Our experiments — inspired by the on-going theory efforts of our collaborators world-wide — take place on three distinct apparatuses: RbK, focusing on artificial gauge fields for atomic Bose and Fermi gases; RbChip, creating spin-dependent forces without light; and RbLi, designing long range interactions mediated by particle exchange.


Strong-coupling phases of the spin-orbit-coupled spin-1 Bose-Hubbard chain: Odd-integer Mott lobes and helical magnetic phases

We study the odd-integer filled Mott phases of a spin-1 Bose-Hubbard chain and determine their fate in the presence of a Raman induced spin-orbit coupling which has been achieved in ultracold atomic gases; this system is described by a quantum

Kinetic theory of dark solitons with tunable friction

We study controllable friction in a system consisting of a dark soliton in a one-dimensional Bose-Einstein condensate coupled to a noninteracting Fermi gas. The fermions act as impurity atoms, not part of the original condensate, that scatter off of the

Lindsay and Ian’s book chapter published: Universal Themes of Bose-Einstein Condensation

The book’s focuses on: Following an explosion of research on Bose–Einstein condensation (BEC) ignited by demonstration of the effect by 2001 Nobel prize winners Cornell, Wieman and Ketterle, this book surveys the field of BEC studies. Written by experts in

Dr. Lauren M. Aycock awarded the APS Congressional Science Fellowship for 2017-2018

Newly minted Ph.D.,  Dr. Lauren M. Aycock has been award the 2017-2018 APS Congressional Science Fellowship! She will be spending a year working with members of Congress on issues where her experience can support the legislative and political process! Way

Fourier transform spectroscopy of a spin–orbit coupled Bose gas

We describe a Fourier transform spectroscopy technique for directly measuring band structures, and apply it to a spin-1 spin–orbit coupled Bose–Einstein condensate. In our technique, we suddenly change the Hamiltonian of the system by adding a spin–orbit coupling interaction and

Brownian motion of solitons in a Bose–Einstein condensate

Solitons, spatially localized, mobile excitations resulting from an interplay between nonlinearity and dispersion, are ubiquitous in physical systems from water channels and oceans to optical fibers and Bose–Einstein condensates (BECs). From our pulse throbbing at our wrists to rapidly moving

Semisynthetic zigzag optical lattice for ultracold bosons

We propose a cold-atom realization of a zigzag ladder. The two legs of the ladder correspond to a “synthetic” dimension given by two internal (spin) states of the atoms, so that tunneling between them can be realized as a laser-assisted

Real-space mean-field theory of a spin-1 Bose gas in synthetic dimensions

The internal degrees of freedom provided by ultracold atoms provide a route for realizing higher dimensional physics in systems with limited spatial dimensions. Nonspatial degrees of freedom in these systems are dubbed “synthetic dimensions.” This connection is useful from an

21 Rules of Thumb for Shipping Great Software on Time: applied to physics research

12 years ago when I was a still graduate student, my wife — then a database developer — sent me a small article titled “21 Rules of Thumb for Shipping Great Software on Time” that were applied in managing the

Vortex nucleation in a Bose–Einstein condensate: from the inside out

We observed a new mechanism for vortex nucleation in Bose–Einstein condensates (BECs) subject to synthetic magnetic fields. We made use of a strong synthetic magnetic field initially localized between a pair of merging BECs to rapidly create vortices in the