Research Interests

My research has focused on using small-scale experiments with lasers and atoms to probe basic forces normally studied at large high-energy accelerators. Some forces inside atoms have unique signatures that can reveal their presence even though their effects may be quite small. For example, the electroweak force between electrons and quarks distinguishes the left from the right and thereby imparts a handedness to atoms, an effect my colleagues and I have been able to measure quite accurately. Such measurements, combined with the results of accelerator experiments, continue to improve our understanding of this electroweak force. Currently, we are also searching for evidence of another kind of force, one that would cause the centers of positive and negative charge inside an isolated atom to separate along the spin axis of the atom, creating a permanent atomic electric dipole with the interesting property that it would distinguish between forward and backward in time. Sensitive atomic experiments will provide an exacting test of elementary particle theories that predict the existence of such a force.

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Primary Section

Section 13: Physics