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Research News

False color images of atom circuit, JQI/NIST
March 30, 2011 | Research News

The First Non-Trivial Atom Circuit

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland (UM) have created the first nontrivial "atom circuit," a donut-shaped loop of ultracold gas atoms circulating in a current analogous to a ring of electrons in a superconducting wire.

The researchers create a synthetic electric field (E*) in an ultracold gas of several hundred thousand rubidium atoms (BEC) immersed in a constant magnetic field (B0). Using lasers (red arrows), the team alters the atoms’ energy-momentum relationship, which causes the atoms to move in a way that is physically identical—and mathematically equivalent—to how a charged particle would move in an electric field. credit: NIST
March 30, 2011 | Research News

Neutral Atoms Made to Act Like Electrically Charged Particles

Completing the story they started by creating synthetic magnetic fields, scientists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, have now made atoms act as if they were charged particles accelerated by electric fields.

March 22, 2011 | Research News

Floquet Topological Insulators

Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the California Institute of Technology have shown that it may be possible to take a conventional semiconductor and endow it with topological properties without subjecting the material to extreme environmental conditions or fundamentally changing its solid state structure.

March 3, 2011 | Research News

JQI Physicists Demonstrate Coveted ‘Spin-Orbit Coupling’ for the First Time in Ultracold Atomic Gases

Physicists at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland-College Park, have for the first time caused a gas of atoms to exhibit an important quantum phenomenon known as spin-orbit coupling.

September 1, 2010 | Research News

NIST Researchers Create 'Quantum Cats' Made of Light

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created "quantum cats" made of photons (particles of light), boosting prospects for manipulating light in new ways to enhance precision measurements as well as computing and communications based on quantum physics.

August 21, 2010 | Research News

A New Design for a Gravimeter

Scientists have developed a novel design for a highly compact, ultra-sensitive quantum device to measure subtle changes in gravity over very short time or distance scales.*

July 29, 2010 | Research News

Ultrafast Gates for Single Atomic Qubits

A team of physicists has achieved ultrafast “switching” time in an operation central to quantum information processing, changing the state of a single trapped ion in less than 50 picoseconds (10-12, or trillionths of a second) with more than 99 percent reliability. That is the fastest time on record – by a factor of about 1,000—for ion “gates,” which may serve as a key component of an eventual quantum computer.

July 22, 2010 | Research News

Anatomy of a Phase Shift

Researchers studying a gas of trapped ultracold atoms have identified a set of conditions, never before observed but in excellent agreement with new theoretical predictions, that determine the onset of a critical “phase transition” in atomic arrays used to model the behavior of condensed-matter systems. 

Harvard and MIT Logos
July 7, 2010 | Research News

JQI Wins Atomtronics MURI Award

Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) scientists have won a highly sought-after MURI award from the U.S. Department of Defense -- one of 32 projects selected for funding in the FY 2010 nationwide competition. The Pentagon will provide a total of $227 million over five years to awardees in the annual Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, whose winners were chosen from 152 proposals evaluated by expert merit-review panels.

Figure 1: Simple Frustrated System
June 2, 2010 | Research News

Physicists Reveal How to Cope With Frustration

For most people, frustration is a condition to be avoided. But for scientists studying certain "frustrated" ensembles of interacting components – that is, those which cannot settle into a state that minimizes each interaction – it may be the key to understanding a host of puzzling phenomena that affect systems from neural networks and social structures to protein folding and magnetism.