Wolfgang Ketterle

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Primary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2002)

Research Interests

My research is in atomic physics and laser spectroscopy, particularly in the area of laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms with the goal of exploring new aspects of ultracold atomic matter. After the discovery of gaseous Bose-Einstein condensation large samples of ultracold atoms at nanokelvin temperatures are available. My research group uses such samples for various directions of research. Bose-Einstein condensates are a new quantum fluid. The interactions among the atoms make them an intriguing, novel many-body system. Aspects of interest are sound, superfluidity, and properties of miscible and immiscible multicomponent condensates. These topics are interdisciplinary with condensed matter physics. The coherence properties of the condensate are exploited in the field of atom optics. Coherent beams of atoms extracted from the condensate ("atom lasers") are analogous to optical laser beams. My research group has used Bose-Einstein condensates as amplifiers for light and for atoms. A third direction is precision measurements. The unprecedented control over the position and velocity of atoms provided by Bose-Einstein condensates is exploited for high-precision atom interferometry.

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