Research Interests

The focus of my research during the past two decades has been full understanding and quantum control of the mass motion of atoms and molecules. Our fundamental studies of light forces on atoms in intense standing waves showed how to create diffraction gratings for atoms made from light (the reverse was old technology). Combined with our demonstration of nanofabricated diffraction gratings for atoms and molecules, this opened the modern field of atom optics, leading to the creation of atom interferometers. We and others have applied these to measure novel atomic and molecular properties, to probe fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics, and as the most precise sensors for gravity and rotational motion. A related area is accurate measurements of the atomic mass of single trapped ions, which have recalibrated the gamma ray energy scale, opened a route to replace the artifact kilogram with an atomic definition, and will be important for independently determining the fine structure constant.

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Section 13: Physics