Assistant Professor Phil Richerme uses cold atoms to perform experiments in quantum information, quantum simulation, and quantum computing. Ions can be strongly confined using laboratory electric fields, and can be extraordinarily well-isolated from their surrounding environments. Lattices of trapped ions can be programmed to emulate the quantum properties of strongly-correlated materials, which are traditionally difficult to understand using analytic or numeric techniques. In addition, these ions can be made to act like complex quantum-chemical systems to study fundamental problems in chemical catalysis.
Assistant Professor Brian DeSalvo uses laser and evaporative cooling of dilute gases of neutral atoms to reach extraordinarily low temperatures where quantum mechanics dominates their behavior. Although the conditions are extreme, these gases offer a simple and flexible system for quantum simulation as well as novel ways to store and manipulate quantum information. Different isotopes of the same atomic species offer the ability to create quantum degenerate gases with either bosonic or fermionic statistics, and by using laser light and magnetic fields one can tune the geometry, dimensionality, and even interparticle interactions of these gases at will.