Dr. Justin Brown (Physical Sciences Inc.) on “Atom-Based Instruments for Fundamental Physics and Applications”

Title: Atom-Based Instruments for Fundamental Physics and Applications
Location: 26-214, Thursday May. 10, Noon-1pm. Pizza at 11:45!
(Feel free to bring your own cup and plate)

Abstract:  Modern atomic physics techniques use lasers to interact with and manipulate atoms in a vapor. Nature has produced massive quantities of identical atoms with limited manufacturing variations,and through quantum mechanics the interaction between light and atoms can be predicted to high precision. Furthermore, electro-optic tools to manipulate and control the intensity, frequency, and polarization of light are available. These features provide an attractive platform for atom-based instruments which are used for tests of fundamental physics or applications.

In this talk, I will survey atomic physics experiments from my career from an early focus on fundamental measurements in academic environments to applied instrument development after a transition to an industrial setting. I will describe a fundamental symmetry test using a nuclear spin gyroscope based on warm atomic vapors of interacting K and 3He that set new limits on a Lorentz-violating background field interacting with the neutron spin. I will also describe development of a novel atom interferometer in an optical cavity to enhance atom interferometer sensitivity for gravity experiments using cold cesium atoms. This background in gyroscopes and accelerometers using atoms led me to industry to participate in the recent DARPA atom-based inertial navigation program. More recently, I joined Physical Sciences Inc. in Andover, MA to pursue precision atom-based sensing as well as other spectroscopy and optical development projects. I will share results on a recent PSI project to develop an improved spectral line filter based on a warm Rb vapor for free space quantum key distribution (QKD) under daytime atmospheric conditions.


“The students in MIT’s new NSF training program will be encouraged to cross disciplines, and develop a common fellowship with their peers. We will also address training for post-academic jobs directly by connecting students to government and industrial members of the iQuISE Consortium.”

—Seth Lloyd, Co-Director, iQuISE, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Engineering Systems