From Science News: “Trapping atoms in a laser beam offers a new way to measure gravity”

From Science News

November 7, 2019
Maria Temming

The technique can measure slight gravitational variations, which could help in mapping terrain.

A new type of experiment to measure the strength of gravity uses atoms suspended in laser light (with the machinery pictured above), rather than free-falling atoms. V. Xu.

By watching how atoms behave when they’re suspended in midair, rather than in free fall, physicists have come up with a new way to measure Earth’s gravity.

Traditionally, scientists have measured gravity’s influence on atoms by tracking how fast atoms tumble down tall chutes. Such experiments can help test Einstein’s theory of gravity and precisely measure fundamental constants (SN: 4/12/18). But the meters-long tubes used in free-fall experiments can be unwieldy and difficult to shield from environmental interference such as stray magnetic fields. With a new tabletop setup, physicists can gauge the strength of Earth’s gravity by monitoring atoms suspended a couple millimeters in the air by laser light.

This redesign, described in the Nov. 8 Science, could better probe the gravitational forces exerted by small objects. The technique also could be used to measure slight gravitational variations at different places in the world, which may help in mapping the seafloor or finding oil and minerals underground (SN: 2/12/08).

Physicist Victoria Xu and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley began by launching a cloud of cesium atoms into the air and using flashes of light to split each atom into a superposition state. In this weird quantum limbo, each atom exists in two places at once: one version of the atom hovering a few micrometers higher than the other. Xu’s team then trapped these split cesium atoms in midair with light from a laser.

Got you, atom. To measure gravity, physicists split atoms into a weird quantum state called superposition — where one version of the atom is slightly higher than the other (blue dots connected by vertical yellow bands in this illustration). The researchers trap these atoms in midair using laser light (horizontal blue bands). While held in the light, each version of a single atom behaves slightly differently, due to their different positions in Earth’s gravitational field. Measuring those differences allows physicists to determine the strength of Earth’s gravity at that location.

Measuring the strength of gravity with atoms that are held in place, rather than being tugged downward by a gravitational field, requires tapping into the atoms’ wave-particle duality (SN: 11/5/10). That quantum effect means that, much as light waves can act like particles called photons, atoms can act like waves. And for each cesium atom caught in superposition, the higher version of the atom wave undulates a little faster than its lower counterpart, due to the atoms’ slightly different positions in Earth’s gravitational field. By tracking how fast the waviness of the two versions of an atom gets out of sync, physicists can calculate the strength of Earth’s gravity at that spot.

“Very impressive,” says physicist Alan Jamison of MIT. To him, one big promise of the new technique is more controlled measurements. “It’s quite a challenge to work on these drop experiments, where you have a 10-meter-long tower,” he says. “Magnetic fields are hard to shield, and the environment produces them all over the place — all the electrical systems in your building, and so forth. Working in a smaller volume makes it easier to avoid those environmental noises.”

More compact equipment can also measure shorter-range gravity effects, says study coauthor Holger Müller. “Let’s say you don’t want to measure the gravity of the entire Earth, but you want to measure the gravity of a small thing, such as a marble,” he says. “We just need to put the marble close to our atoms [and hold it there]. In a traditional free-fall setup, the atoms would spend a very short time close to our marble — milliseconds — and we would get much less signal.”

Physicist Kai Bongs of the University of Birmingham in England imagines using the new kind of atomic gravimeter to investigate the nature of dark matter or test a fundamental facet of Einstein’s theory of gravity called the equivalence principle (SN: 4/28/17). Many unified theories of physics proposed to reconcile quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravity — which are incompatible — violate the equivalence principle in some way. “So looking for violations might guide us to the grand unified theory,” he says. “That’s one of the Holy Grails in physics.”

See the full article here .


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#applied-research-technology, #by-watching-how-atoms-behave-when-theyre-suspended-in-midair-rather-than-in-free-fall-physicists-have-come-up-with-a-new-way-to-measure-earths-gravity, #laser-technology-2, #physicists-split-atoms-into-a-weird-quantum-state-called-superposition-where-one-version-of-the-atom-is-slightly-higher-than-the-other, #physics, #quantum-mechanics, #science-news

From Harvard Gazette: “Tiny tweezers”

Harvard University

From Harvard Gazette

October 2, 2019
Peter Reuell
Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer


In a first, optical tweezers give Harvard scientists the control to capture ultracold molecules.

For most people, tweezers are a thing you’d find in a medicine cabinet or beauty salon, useful for getting rid of ingrown hairs or sculpting eyebrows.

Those designed by John Doyle and Kang-Kuen Ni have more exotic applications.

Using precisely focused lasers that act as “optical tweezers,” the pair have been able to capture and control individual, ultracold molecules — the eventual building-blocks of a quantum computer — and study the collisions between molecules in more detail than ever before. The work is described in a paper published in Science on Sept. 13.

“We’re interested in doing two things,” said Doyle, the Henry B. Silsbee Professor of Physics and co-director of the Quantum Science and Engineering Initiative. “One is building up complex quantum systems, which are interesting because it turns out that if you can put together certain kinds of quantum systems they can solve problems that can’t be solved using a classical computer, including understanding advanced materials and perhaps designing new materials, or even looking at problems we haven’t thought of yet, because we haven’t had the tools.

“The other is to actually hold these molecules so we can study the molecules themselves to get insight into their structure and the interactions between molecules,” he continued. “We can also use them to look for new particles beyond the Standard Model, perhaps explaining key cosmological questions.”

Ni, the Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, explained that the work began with a cloud of molecules — in this case calcium monofluoride molecules — trapped in a small chamber. Using lasers, the team cooled the molecules to just above absolute zero, then used optical tweezers to capture them.

Harvard’s Kang-Kuen Ni (left) and John Doyle use precisely focused lasers as optical tweezers.

“Because the molecules are very cold, they have very low kinetic energy,” Ni said. “An optical tweezer is a very tightly focused laser beam, but the molecules see it as a well, and as they move into the tweezer, they continue to be cooled and lose energy to fall to the bottom of the tweezer trap.”

Using five beams, Ni, Doyle, and colleagues were able to hold five separate molecules in the tweezers, and demonstrate exacting control over them.

“The challenge for molecules, and the reason we haven’t done it before, is because they have a number of degrees of freedom — they have electronic and spin states, they have vibration, they have rotation, with each molecule having its own features,” she said. “In principle, one could choose the perfect molecule for a particular use — you can say I want to use this property for one thing, and another property for something else. But the molecules, whatever they are, have to be controlled in the first place. The novelty of this work is in being able to have that individual control.”

While capturing individual molecules in optical tweezers is a key part of potentially building what Doyle called a “quantum simulator,” the work also allowed researchers to closely observe a process that has remained largely mysterious: the collision between molecules.

“Simple physics questions deserve answers,” Doyle said. “And a simple physics question here is, what happens when two molecules hit each other? Do they form a reaction? Do they bounce off each other? In this ultracold, quantum region … we don’t know much.

“There are a number of very good theorists who are working hard to understand if quantum mechanics can predict what we’re going to see,” he continued. “But, of course, nothing motivates new theory like new experiments, and now we have some very nice experimental data.”

In subsequent experiments, Ni said the team is using the optical tweezers to “steer” molecules together and study the resulting collisions.

In separate experiments, researchers from her lab explore reactions of ultracold molecules. “We are studying these reactions at ultracold temperatures, which haven’t been achieved previously,” she said. “And we’re seeing new things.”

Ni was also the author of a 2018 study that theorized how captured molecules, if brought close enough together, might interact, potentially enabling researchers to use them to perform quantum calculations.

“The idea of Kang-Kuen’s paper is that we can bring these single molecules together and couple them, which is equivalent to a quantum gate, and do some processing,” Doyle said. “So that coupling could be used to perform quantum processing.”

The current study is also noteworthy for its collaborative nature, Doyle said.

“We talk a lot about collaboration in the Harvard Quantum Initiative and the Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA), and the bottom line is this collaboration was driven by scientific interest, and included Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT, one of our CUA colleagues” he said. “We all have strong scientific interest in molecules, and the fact that Kang-Kuen’s lab is in chemistry and my lab is here in physics has not been a significant barrier.

“It has been absolutely fabulous working together to solve these problems. And one of the big reasons why is when you have two faculty members from two different departments, they’re not only bringing their personal scientific perspective, they’re bringing to some degree, all the knowledge from their groups together.”

This research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation.

See the full article here .


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Harvard University campus
Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

#tiny-tweezers, #applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #harvard-gazette, #laser-technology-2, #physics, #quantum-computing

From Niels Bohr Institute: “Quantum Alchemy: Researchers use laser light to transform metal into magnet”

University of Copenhagen

Niels Bohr Institute bloc

From Niels Bohr Institute

16 September 2019

Mark Spencer Rudner
Associate Professor
Condensed Matter Physics
Niels Bohr Institutet

Maria Hornbek
The Faculty of Science
+45 22 95 42 83

CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS: Pioneering physicists from the University of Copenhagen and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a way to get non-magnetic materials to make themselves magnetic by way of laser light. The phenomenon may also be used to endow many other materials with new properties.

Mark Rudner, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

Asst Prof Justin Song Chien Wen

The intrinsic properties of materials arise from their chemistry — from the types of atoms that are present and the way that they are arranged. These factors determine, for example, how well a material may conduct electricity or whether or not it is magnetic. Therefore, the traditional route for changing or achieving new material properties has been through chemistry.

Now, a pair of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a new physical route to the transformation of material properties: when stimulated by laser light, a metal can transform itself from within and suddenly acquire new properties.


“For several years, we have been looking into how to transform the properties of a matter by irradiating it with certain types of light. What’s new is that not only can we change the properties using light, we can trigger the material to change itself, from the inside out, and emerge into a new phase with completely new properties. For instance, a non-magnetic metal can suddenly transform into a magnet,” explains Associate Professor Mark Rudner, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute.

He and colleague Justin Song of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore made the discovery that is now published in Nature Physics. The idea of using light to transform the properties of a material is not novel in itself. But up to now, researchers have only been capable of manipulating the properties already found in a material. Giving a metal its own ‘separate life’, allowing it to generate its own new properties, has never been seen before.

By way of theoretical analysis, the researchers have succeeded in proving that when a non-magnetic metallic disk is irradiated with linearly polarized light, circulating electric currents and hence magnetism can spontaneously emerge in the disk.

Researchers use so-called plasmons (a type of electron wave) found in the material to change its intrinsic properties. When the material is irradiated with laser light, plasmons in the metal disk begin to rotate in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. However, these plasmons change the quantum electronic structure of a material, which simultaneously alters their own behavior, catalyzing a feedback loop. Feedback from the plasmons’ internal electric fields eventually causes the plasmons to break the intrinsic symmetry of the material and trigger an instability toward self-rotation that causes the metal to become magnetic.

Technique can produce properties ‘on demand’

According to Mark Rudner, the new theory pries open an entire new mindset and most likely, a wide range of applications:

“It is an example of how the interaction between light and material can be used to produce certain properties in a material ‘on demand’. It also paves the way for a multitude of uses, because the principle is quite general and can work on many types of materials. We have demonstrated that we can transform a material into a magnet. We might also be able to change it into a superconductor or something entirely different,” says Rudner. He adds:

“You could call it 21st century alchemy. In the Middle Ages, people were fascinated by the prospect of transforming lead into gold. Today, we aim to get one material to behave like another by stimulating it with a laser.”

Among the possibilities, Rudner suggests that the principle could be useful in situations where one needs a material to alternate between behaving magnetically and not. It could also prove useful in opto-electronics – where, for example, light and electronics are combined for fiber-internet and sensor development.

The researchers’ next steps are to expand the catalog of properties that can be altered in analogous ways, and to help stimulate their experimental investigation and utilization.

See the full article here .


Stem Education Coalition

Niels Bohr Institute Campus

Niels Bohr Institute (Danish: Niels Bohr Institutet) is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen, by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institute.[1] Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.[2]

During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institute.

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient

#21st-century-alchemy, #applied-research-technology, #condensed-matter-physics, #laser-technology-2, #niels-bohr-institute, #plasmons

From University of Adelaide: “Trapping atoms to protect Australia’s groundwater”


From University of Adelaide

09 Sep 2019
Thea Williams

Research technician Punjehl Crane at the CSIRO Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry Laboratory in Adelaide. ©Nick Pitsas

A collaboration between CSIRO and the University of Adelaide, the Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) facility uses advanced laser physics to count individual atoms of the noble gases, such as Argon and Krypton, that are naturally found in groundwater and ice cores.

Measuring the ultra-low concentrations of these radioactive noble gases allows researchers to understand the age, origin and interconnectivity of the groundwater and how it has moved underground through space and time.

This is the first Atom Trap Trace Analysis facility in the Southern Hemisphere and, combined with CSIRO’s complementary Noble Gas Facility at the Waite campus in Adelaide, gives Australia one of the most comprehensive noble gas analysis capabilities in the world.

“Australia relies on its groundwater for 30 per cent of its water supply for human consumption, stock watering, irrigation and mining,” said Professor Andre Luiten, Director of the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing which houses the ATTA facility.

“With climate change and periods of prolonged drought, surface water is becoming increasingly more unreliable and the use of groundwater is rising.

“We need to make sure it’s sustainable.

“Because noble gases don’t easily react chemically, they are the gold standard for environmental tracers to track groundwater movements.

“Before this new facility, researchers wanting to measure these ultra-low concentrations of noble gases had to rely on a very small number of overseas laboratories which can’t meet demand for their services.”

ATTA’s analytic capability would also allow researchers to look further into the past of Antarctica’s climate, building understanding of global environmental change.

CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr Dirk Mallants said the new ATTA facility would enable researchers to determine how old groundwater is from decades and centuries up to one million years.

“This allows us to understand the sources of water, where it comes from and what the recharge rates are,” Dr Mallants said.

“That then allows us to make decisions about sustainable extraction.

“This is critical where development of any kind might use or impact groundwater systems – from urban development where groundwater systems are used to supply communities, to agricultural and mining development.

“It will provide Australian researchers, government and industry with unique capability of collaboration on national water challenges.”

The new ATTA facility is partially funded under the Australian Research Council’s Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme.

Energy, mining and resources is a key industry engagement priority for the University of Adelaide and environmental sustainability is a research focus.

The CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the University of Adelaide in 2017 announced a new agreement to work together to tackle some of the big issues facing Australia and the region.

The two organisations agreed to build collaborations to advance research in key areas of mutual strength, with significant potential benefit to the Australian economy, society and environment.

See the full article here .


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U Adelaide campus

Mission & Focus
A 21st century university for Adelaide.

At the University of Adelaide, we embrace our role and purpose as a future-maker—for our state, our nation and our world.

We pursue meaningful change as we celebrate our proud history: applying proven values in the pursuit of contemporary educational and research excellence; meeting our local and global community’s evolving needs and challenges; and striving to prepare our graduates for their aspirations and the needs of the future workforce.

Our focus is informed by the manifold changes confronting today’s society, including the:

need for economic transition—to new industries and jobs
imperative of social transformation—demanding more accessible, lifelong learning
impact of globalisation—making global opportunities available locally
pervasive nature of technological disruption—redefining socio-economic constructs
pursuit of sustainability—socially, economically and environmentally.

The University is uniquely positioned to design and drive a prosperous, entrepreneurial future for South Australia built on knowledge, innovation and collaboration.

We’re a dynamic participant in society, leading our community in leveraging change for social and economic benefit. We listen to industry. And we connect with diverse community groups far and wide to deliver education and research of the highest value and impact.
Five pillars to excellence

1. Connected to the global world of ideas
2. A magnet for talent
3. Research that shapes the future
4. A 21st century education for a growing community of learners
5. The beating heart of Adelaide

#trapping-atoms-to-protect-australias-groundwater, #applied-research-technology, #atom-trap-trace-analysis-atta-facility, #laser-technology-2, #physics, #university-of-adelaide

From University of Rochester: “A ‘new chapter’ in quest for novel quantum materials”

U Rochester bloc

From University of Rochester

August 27, 2019
Bob Marcotte

Diamond anvil cells are used to compress and alter the properties of hydrogen rich materials in the lab of assistant professor Ranga Dias. Rochester scientists like Dias are working to uncover the remarkable quantum properties of materials. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

In an oven, aluminum is remarkable because it can serve as foil over a casserole without ever becoming hot itself.

However, put aluminum in a crucible of extraordinarily high pressure, blast it with high-powered lasers like those at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and even more remarkable things happen. Aluminum stops being a metal. It even turns transparent.

University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics

U Rochester The main amplifiers at the OMEGA EP laser at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Exactly how and why this occurs is not yet clear. However, LLE scientists and their collaborators say a $4 million grant—from the Quantum Information Science Research for Fusion Energy Sciences (QIS) program within the Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Science [see the separate article]—will help them better understand and apply the quantum (subatomic) phenomena that cause materials to be transformed at pressures more than a million—even a billion—times the atmospheric pressure on Earth.”

The potential dividends are huge, including:

Superfast quantum computers immune to hacking

IBM iconic image of Quantum computer

Cheap energy created from fusion and delivered over superconducting wires.

PPPL LTX Lithium Tokamak Experiment

A more secure stockpile of nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

A better understanding of how planets and other astronomical bodies form – and even whether some might be habitable.

A size comparison of the planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, lined up in order of increasing distance from their host star. The planetary surfaces are portrayed with an artist’s impression of their potential surface features, including water, ice, and atmospheres. NASA

“This three-year effort, led by the University of Rochester, will leverage world-class expertise and facilities, and open a new chapter of quantum matter exploration,” says lead investigator Gilbert “Rip” Collins, who heads the University’s high energy density physics program. The project also includes researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Buffalo, the University of Utah, and Howard University and collaborators at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh.

The chief players in quantum mechanics are electrons, protons, photons, and other subatomic particles. Quantum mechanics prescribe only discrete energies or speeds for electrons. These particles can also readily exhibit “duality”—at times acting like distinct particles, at other times taking on wave-like characteristics as well.

However, until recently a lot of their quantum behaviors and properties could be observed only at extremely low, cryogenic temperatures. At low temperatures, the wave-like behavior causes electrons, in layperson terms, “to overlap, become more social and talk more to their neighbors all while occupying discrete states,” says Mohamed Zaghoo, an LLE scientist and project team member. This quantum behavior allows them to transmit energy and can result in superconductive materials.

“The new realization is that you can achieve the same type of ‘quantumness’ of particles if you compress them really, really tightly,” Zaghoo says. This can be achieved in various ways, from blasting the materials with powerful, picoseconds laser bursts to slowly compressing them for days, even months between super-hard industrial diamonds in nanoscale “anvils.”

“Now you can say these materials can only exist under really high pressures, so to duplicate that under normal conditions is still a challenge,” Zaghoo concedes. “But if we are able to understand why materials acquire these exotic behaviors at really high pressures, maybe we can tweak the parameters, and design materials that have these same quantum properties at both higher temperatures and lower pressures. We also hope to build a predictive theory about why and how certain kinds of elements can have these quantum properties and others don’t.”

Here’s an example of why this is an exciting prospect for Zaghoo and his collaborators. Aluminum not only becomes transparent, but also loses its ability to conduct energy at extremely high pressure. If it happens to aluminum, it’s likely it will happen with other metals as well. Chips and transistors rely on metallic oxides to serve as insulating layers. And so, the ability to use high pressure to “uniquely tune” the quantum properties of various metals could lead to “new types of oxides, new types of conductors that make the circuits much more efficient, and lose less heat,” Zaghoo says.

“We would be able to design better electronics.”

And that could help address concerns that Moore’s law—which states the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years—cannot continue to be sustained using existing materials and circuitry.

U Rochester a leader in high energy density physics

In addition to creating new materials, a major thrust of the project is to be able to describe and explore those materials in meaningful ways.

“The instrumentation and diagnostics are not there yet,” Zaghoo says. So, part of the proposal is to develop new techniques to “look at these materials and actually see something of substance.”

Much of the project will be done at LLE and at affiliated labs in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Those labs are led by Ranga Dias, an assistant professor who uses diamond anvil cells to compress hydrogen-rich materials, and Niaz Abdolrahim, an assistant professor who uses computational techniques to understand the deformation of nanoscale metals and other materials.

However, the lab of Russell Hemley at the University of Illinois at Chicago, for example, will also assist the effort to synthesize new materials using diamonds. And Eva Zurek at the SUNY University at Buffalo will be in charge of developing new theoretical models to describe the quantum behaviors that lead to new materials.

“Our scientific team is both diverse and contains top leaders in the fields of high-energy density science, emergent quantum materials, plasmas, condensed matter and computations,” says Collins. “Extensive outreach, workshops and high-profile publications resulting from this work will engage a world-wide community in this extreme quantum revolution.”

Established in 1970 to investigate the interaction of intense radiation with matter, LLE has played a leading role in the quest to achieve nuclear fusion in the lab, with a particular emphasis on inertial confinement fusion.

Two years ago, it launched its high energy density physics initiative under the leadership of Collins, who had previously directed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for High Energy Density Physics.

In addition to drawing upon LLE’s scientists and facilities, the program has also benefited from close collaborations with engineering and science faculty and their students on the University’s nearby River Campus. The synergy has resulted in numerous grants and papers.

See the full article here .

See also the earlier article Department of Energy awards $4 million to University’s Extreme Quantum Team.


Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

U Rochester Campus

The University of Rochester is one of the country’s top-tier research universities. Our 158 buildings house more than 200 academic majors, more than 2,000 faculty and instructional staff, and some 10,500 students—approximately half of whom are women.

Learning at the University of Rochester is also on a very personal scale. Rochester remains one of the smallest and most collegiate among top research universities, with smaller classes, a low 10:1 student to teacher ratio, and increased interactions with faculty.

#a-new-chapter-in-quest-for-novel-quantum-materials, #applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #chemistry, #fusion-technology, #laboratory-for-laser-energetics, #laser-technology-2, #physics, #quantum-mechanics, #trappist-1-system, #university-of-rochester

From University of Rochester: “Department of Energy awards $4 million to University’s Extreme Quantum Team”

U Rochester bloc

From University of Rochester

August 27, 2019
Sara Miller

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics of the University of Rochester is a national resource for research and education in science and technology. (University of Rochester photo / Eugene Kowaluk)

Through a competitive national application process, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the University of Rochester $4 million for research in the growing, multidisciplinary field of Quantum Information Science (QIS), which is viewed as the foundation for the next generation of computing and information processing. This QIS research at Rochester is being supported for three years by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, through its Fusion Energy Sciences Program (FES).

Gilbert “Rip” Collins, professor of mechanical engineering in the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and of physics in the School of Arts & Sciences, as well as associate director at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), will lead this research with Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty Ranga Dias and Niaz Abdorahim; Ryan Rygg, Danae Polsin, and Mohamed Zaghoo from the LLE; along with distinguished scientists from a number of other institutions across the globe.

“It has been about 100 years since scientists began to discover the exotic properties of quantum matter. Since then, scientists and engineers have exploited such properties by exploring matter at extremely low temperature, where thermal agitation, e.g. the great destroyer of subtle quantum correlations, hides such behavior,” said Collins. “Today we begin to explore a new realm of quantum matter, where atoms are squeezed to such close proximity that quantum properties are no longer subtle, and can persist to very high temperatures. Our team is diverse and contains top leaders in the fields of high-energy density science, emergent quantum materials, plasmas, condensed matter and computations. We will have extensive outreach, workshops and high profile publications, to engage a world-wide community in this extreme quantum revolution.”

“We are very pleased that the DOE has chosen to invest in Rochester’s high-energy density research programs and the groundbreaking fusion research conducted at our Laboratory for Laser Energetics,” said Rob Clark, University provost and senior vice president for research. “The leadership and expertise of our scientists and our state-of-the-art research tools make the University of Rochester an ideal environment to pursue advances in QIS.”

University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics

U Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics

“The Laser Lab is a world-renowned center for groundbreaking research and scientific exploration, and the discoveries that will result from this new work at the lab are no exception,” said US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “This new DOE investment affirms the LLE’s international reputation for scientific innovation and underscores my continued push to keep the lab and its more than 350 employees on the job.”

US Representative Joe Morelle said: “The Laboratory for Laser Energetics continues to cement its place as a world-class institution and leader in cutting edge scientific research. This substantial award will allow the University of Rochester to leverage this unique facility to explore new realms of quantum matter and phenomena, making discoveries with fascinating potential future applications right here in Rochester. I am grateful to DOE for their investment in the future of our community and congratulate the University of Rochester on this exciting award.”

LLE Director Mike Campbell said: “We are very pleased that the DOE has recognized the quality and the potential for advancing our knowledge of the quantum behavior of matter at the extreme conditions that we can produce with these laser facilities. This also shows how the different offices in the DOE effectively work together. The facilities and capabilities provided by National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at LLE will enable cutting edge science funded by the DOE Office of Fusion energy Sciences.”

This “Extreme Quantum Team” will focus their research on tuning the energy density of matter into a high-energy-density (HED) quantum regime to understand extremes of quantum matter behavior, properties and phenomena. Since the early days of quantum mechanics, the realm of quantum matter has been limited to low temperatures, restricting the breadth of quantum phenomena that could be exploited and explored. The project will take advantage of new developments in HED science that enable the controlled manipulation of pressure, temperature and composition, opening the way to revolutionary quantum states of matter. For example, this team will use compression experiments to tune the distance between atoms thereby unlocking a new quantum behavior at unprecedentedly high temperatures, transferring quantum phenomena to the macroscale, and opening the potential for hot superconductors, superconducting-superfluid plasma, transparent aluminum, insulating plasma and potentially more.

The call for applications for this QIS award asked for proposals that can have a transformative impact on the FES mission, which is to expand the fundamental understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities and to build the scientific foundation needed to develop a fusion energy source. The FES pursues scientific opportunities and grand challenges in high energy density plasma science to better understand our universe and to enhance national security and economic competitiveness. FES is also focused on increasing the fundamental understanding of basic plasma science to create opportunities for a broader range of science-based applications.

See the full article here .

See also the later article University of Rochester: A ‘new chapter’ in quest for novel quantum materials


Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

U Rochester Campus

The University of Rochester is one of the country’s top-tier research universities. Our 158 buildings house more than 200 academic majors, more than 2,000 faculty and instructional staff, and some 10,500 students—approximately half of whom are women.

Learning at the University of Rochester is also on a very personal scale. Rochester remains one of the smallest and most collegiate among top research universities, with smaller classes, a low 10:1 student to teacher ratio, and increased interactions with faculty.

#applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #fes-fusion-energy-sciences-program, #laser-technology-2, #qis-quantum-information-science, #quantum-mechanics, #u-rochester-laboratory-for-laser-energetics, #university-of-rochester

From University of Rochester: “Laser lab ‘truly inspiring’ to federal government visitors”

U Rochester bloc

From University of Rochester

August 23, 2019
Lindsey Valich

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, under-secretary for nuclear security of the US Department of Energy and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, takes a tour of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics Omega EP facility. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

U Rochester The main amplifiers at the OMEGA EP laser at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics

U Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics

U Rochester Omega Laser facility

During a visit to the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), top federal officials said the LLE plays a crucial role in advancing research vital to maintaining the safety, security, and effectiveness of America’s nuclear security enterprise.

“The fundamental research done here [at the LLE] helps keep our nation on the cutting edge of science, which, in turn, helps keep our nation safe,” said National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who, along with US Representative Joseph Morelle, visited the LLE on Tuesday. As part of a visit she called “truly inspiring,” Gordon-Hagerty met with researchers and students and toured the OMEGA and OMEGA EP laser facilities.

LLE Director Michael Campbell said the LLE plays a key part in providing science and expertise to support the NNSA in ensuring a reliable and secure nuclear deterrent.

“We’re fully committed to supporting a national program that is the best in the world and keeps the United States foremost in this important field of national security,” he said.

In addressing a group at the LLE, she noted that research conducted by LLE scientists in high-energy density physics (HEDP) and inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is important to advancing the NNSA’s mission.

“Our nation’s nuclear deterrent has been effective in great part because of the understanding of how matter behaves in extreme states, precisely the work that is accomplished here,” she said.

This work includes Nobel-Prize winning research conducted by Gerard Mourou, a former engineer and senior scientist at LLE, and Donna Strickland ’89 (PhD).

Nobel-Prize winning Donna Strickland ’89 (PhD)

Strickland and Mourou were jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for work they undertook at the LLE on chirped pulse amplification; the work was the basis of Strickland’s PhD dissertation at Rochester, under the direction of her advisor, Mourou. University President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf said the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics is “a perfect example of what is possible when students have access to world-class facilities and mentors.”

Last year the House and Senate included $80 million—a $5 million increase over fiscal year 2018—for the LLE as part of its version of the FY 2019 energy and water appropriations bill. Morelle said he hopes the Senate, when it resumes sessions in September, will once again pass appropriation bills for what he calls the “essential work” conducted at the LLE. “This is a world-class institution, performing cutting-edge scientific research that has led to Nobel Prize-winning discoveries,” Morelle said.

But, while research conducted at the LLE is an asset to national security at the federal level, Morelle said the LLE also greatly contributes to the Rochester region.

“Not only does this facilitate ground-breaking research, it has a profound impact on our scientific community,” he said. “It supports hundreds of local jobs, it plays a significant role in strengthening our regional economy.”

Said Mangelsdorf: “Continued investment in the LLE will advance our nation’s scientific leadership, strengthen our national and economic security, foster the development of new technologies and companies, grow our economy, and support efforts to find affordable, plentiful, and efficient sources of energy for the future.”

The LLE was established at the University in 1970 and is the largest US Department of Energy (DOE) university-based research program in the nation. As a nationally funded facility, the LLE conducts implosion and other experiments to support a DOE program to explore fusion as a future source of energy, to develop new laser and materials technologies, and to conduct research and develop technology related to high-energy-density phenomena. The LLE is recognized nationally and internationally for its substantial contributions to the DOE’s inertial confinement fusion and high-energy-density physics programs in partnership with three national laboratories (Los Alamos, Sandia, and Livermore). In addition, the LLE provides graduate and undergraduate educational programs to students at Rochester and other universities across the country, and it operates a national program to support qualified researchers throughout the United States to conduct research using its facilities.

See the full article here .


Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

U Rochester Campus

The University of Rochester is one of the country’s top-tier research universities. Our 158 buildings house more than 200 academic majors, more than 2,000 faculty and instructional staff, and some 10,500 students—approximately half of whom are women.

Learning at the University of Rochester is also on a very personal scale. Rochester remains one of the smallest and most collegiate among top research universities, with smaller classes, a low 10:1 student to teacher ratio, and increased interactions with faculty.

#laboratory-for-laser-energetics, #laser-technology-2, #nobel-prize-winning-donna-strickland-89-phd, #omega-ep-facility, #university-of-rochester