CUA - Center for Ultracold Atoms

Research Highlights

MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms, A National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center

Researchers develop new method to control nanoscale diamond sensors
Published 1.24.2014

A team in MIT’s Quantum Engineering Group has developed a new method to control nanoscale diamond sensors, which are capable of measuring even very weak magnetic fields. The new control technique allows the tiny sensors to monitor how these magnetic fields change over time, such as when neurons in the brain transmit electrical signals to each other.

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Electron’s shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry
Published 1.10.2014

New results from Professor John Doyle's participation in the ACME collaboration, studying the roundness of the electron.

“It is unusual and satisfying that the exquisite precision achieved by our small team in its university lab probes the most fundamental building block of our universe at a sensitivity that complements what is being achieved by thousands at the world’s largest accelerator,” Gabrielse said. “Given that the Standard Model is not able to explain how a universe of matter could come from a big bang that created essentially equal amounts of matter and antimatter, the Standard Model cannot be the final word.”

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Direct Measurement of the Zak Phase in Topological Bloch Bands
Published 11.13.2013

Geometric phases that characterize the topological properties of Bloch bands play a fundamental role in the band theory of solids.

Professor Eugene Demler and colleagues from Harvard, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and Rakuten, Inc. (Japan) reported on the measurement of the geometric phase acquired by cold atoms moving in one-dimensional optical lattices in Nature Physics.

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Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter
Published 9.25.2013

Harvard and MIT scientists are challenging the conventional wisdom about light, and they didn't need to go to a galaxy far, far away to do it.

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MIT researchers build an all-optical transistor
Published 7.4.2013

An optical switch that can be turned on by a single photon could point toward new designs for both classical and quantum computers.

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Spin-Orbit Coupling in a Fermi Gas
Published 9.1.2012

Elementary particles have a property called "spin" that can be thought of as
rotation around their axes. In work reported in the journal Physical Review
Letters, MIT physicists have imposed a stringent set of traffic rules on
atomic particles in a gas: Those spinning clockwise can move in only one
direction, while those spinning counterclockwise can move only in the other
direction.

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Making light matter
Published 6.11.2012

At first glance, a donut and a coffee cup do not have much in common, except that they complement each other really well.

A second glance reveals that they share a geometrical property, their topology: the shape of one can be continuously deformed into the shape of the other.

Topology explains many phenomena in modern science: transitions between physical regions with different topology cause exotic effects such as insulators which act like conducting metals at the surface.

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Revealing the Superfluid Lambda Transition in a Fermi Gas
Published 1.18.2012

Every time you boil water in a kettle, you witness a phenomenon known as a
phase transition - water transforms from a liquid to a gas, as you can see
from the bubbling water and hissing steam. MIT physicists have now observed
a much more elusive phase transition - that from a gas into a superfluid, a
state where particles flow without any friction.

The MIT work, published in
Science, is closely related to superconductivity of electrons in metals. The
precision of the measurements allows constraining current theories of
strongly interacting matter and might shed light on the workings of
high-temperature superconductors that have the potential to revolutionize
energy efficiency.

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The bouncing gas
Published 4.14.2011

Clouds of gases that bounce off each other could help physicists model the behavior of high-temperature superconductors and other unusual materials.

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Atomic Clock Beats the Quantum Limit
Published 6.25.2010

The best atomic clocks are limited by the uncertainty principle–quantum-scale fluctuations prevent measurements from being perfectly precise. But reports in the 19 February and 25 June Physical Review Letters show that the fluctuations can be moved into other measurable quantities that don’t affect the time measurement. Although the new clock isn’t as good as the best ones now available, it shows that the quantum limit can be evaded for future precision experiments and satellite-aided navigation.

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