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Physics Frontier Center News

Given enough time, a forgotten cup of coffee will lose its appeal and cool to room temperature. One way of telling this tepid tale involves a stupendous number of coffee molecules colliding like billiard balls with themselves and colder molecules in the air above. Those constant collisions siphon energy away from the coffee, bit by bit, in a process that physicists call thermalization.

But this story doesn’t mention quantum physics, and scientists think that thermalization must...

Physicists led by ion-trapper Christopher Monroe at the JQI have proposed a modular quantum computer architecture that promises scalability to much larger numbers of qubits. The components of this architecture have individually been tested and are available, making it a promising approach. In the paper, the authors present expected performance and scaling calculations, demonstrating that their...

Atomtronics is an emerging technology whereby physicists use ensembles of atoms to build analogs to electronic circuit elements. Modern electronics relies on utilizing the charge properties of the electron. Using lasers and magnetic fields, atomic systems can be engineered to have behavior analogous to that of electrons, making them an exciting platform for studying and...

Can scientists generate any color of light? The answer is not really, but the invention of the laser in 1960 opened new doors for this endeavor. In a result published in Nature Communications scientists* demonstrate a new semiconductor microstructure that performs frequency conversion. This design is a factor of 1000 smaller than previous devices.

Theorists at the Joint Quantum Institute predict that for some elements a vortex of atoms can be produced which pivots around another sample of atoms at rest in the middle. Such a quantum gimbal has been observed in condensates of two atomic species but never before in a swarm of exclusively one type of atoms in a state of lowest energy.

The JQI would like to congratulate Kena Allison, science teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy, who recently received a Milken Educator Award for her "commitment to teaching science." Called the "Oscars of teaching," the award comes with $25,000. PFC graduate student researcher Jeff Grover has been visiting Allison's classroom over the last few years, integrating physics demonstrations into her...

In this experiment, physicists squeeze combinations of higher modes of the light into a nanofiber with unprecedented efficiency and purity. This kind of control may translate into more control over evanescent atom traps

In this week’s issue of Nature Photonics scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute (*) report the first observation of topological effects for light in two dimensions, analogous to the quantum Hall effect for electrons. To accomplish this, they built a structure to guide infrared light over the surface of a room temperature, silicon-on-insulator chip.

JQI researchers perform a quantum simulation of the 1D Dirac equation, by assembling an analogue system of neutral atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Peter Kordell, a UMD undergrad, was awarded the IPST Monroe Martin Prize for Undergraduate Research in Physics.

The photodetectors in Alan Migdall’s lab often see no light at all, and that’s a good thing since he and his JQI (*) colleagues perform physics experiments that require very little light, the better to study subtle quantum effects. Their latest achievement, described here, is to develop a new way of counting photons to understand the sources and modes of light in modern physics experiments....


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Quantum physics began with revolutionary discoveries in the early twentieth century and continues to be central in today’s physics research. Learn about quantum physics, bit by bit. From definitions to the latest research, this is your portal. Subscribe to receive regular emails from the quantum world. Previous Issues...

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