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  • Dan Powers

60 Years of Quantum Research at CU Boulder

“To borrow a phrase, we’re going where no one has gone before,” says quantum physicist Ye, a fellow at JILA, a joint research institute between CU Boulder and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Today, scientists at JILA and NIST are developing some of the world’s most precise and accurate atomic clocks. They build off decades of work by Nobel laureates Jan Hall, Dave Wineland and Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman. Check out the stories and videos of the vast quantum research efforts over the decades at CU Boulder>>>

Child wears a helmet made up of more than 100 OPM sensors. (Credit: FieldLine)

First, researchers collect clouds of atoms and chill them down, then trap those atoms in an “artificial crystal” made of laser light. Next, they hit the atoms with yet another laser. Like pushing a pendulum, that laser beam starts the atoms “ticking,” causing them to oscillate between energy levels at a rate of quadrillions of times per second.

These clocks are also incredibly sensitive. Ye, for example, demonstrated an atomic clock that can register the difference in Earth’s gravity if you lift it up by just a millimeter. Ye, who’s also the director of CUbit, leads a center on campus funded by the National Science Foundation called Quantum Systems through Entangled Science and Engineering (Q-SEnSE). Read more awesome details of quantum research as CU>>>>

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