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The Will Lab investigates quantum systems of ultracold atoms and molecules. We cool atoms and molecules to ultracold temperatures close to above absolute zero - reaching the coldest temperatures allowed by nature. At these temperatures, the behavior of particles is determined by the laws of quantum mechanics. Using the precision tools of atomic physics, we have full control over the quantum state of each particle and the interactions between them. 

We work towards single atom and single molecule and create novel many-body quantum systems, and perform quantum simulations of strongly interacting matter. Our research program focusses on fundamental questions in many-body quantum physics, quantum simulation, and quantum optics, and contributes to the development of modern quantum technologies. For more details go to Research.

Recent News

September 4, 2023

Microwave shielding and evaporative cooling of bosonic molecules out in Nature Physics!

Our paper reporting microwave shielding and first evaporative cooling of bosonic dipolar ground state molecules just came out in Nature Physics! We observe sample lifetimes of 1 second (100x improvement compared to previous) and cool bosonic molecules to the coldest temperatures yet (~30 nK above absolute zero), which should be an important stepping stone for further cooling towards quantum degeneracy. Congrats to the entire team and to Niccolò and Ian for leading this effort! 

Link: Nat. Phys. (2023)

Article by Ellen Neff: A Microwave Shield Yields Ultracold Dipolar Molecules

June 1, 2023

Paper on efficient creation of NaCs molecules out in NJP

Our paper on the efficient creation of ultracold NaCs molecules just appeared in New Journal of Physics. We show STIRAP transfer to the absolute ground state with almost 90% efficiency. We are very excited about this as it allows the preparation of dipolar NaCs molecules at colder temperatures and efficient detection. Congrats to the entire team and to Claire for leading this effort! Link: New J. Phys. 25, 053036 (2023)

June 26, 2023

Preprint on phased-array antenna for circularly polarized microwaves

For microwave-shielding of NaCs molecules we developed a cloverleaf microwave antenna that can produce clean circularly polarized microwave fields. Clean circular polarization can be helpful for quantum control applications with atoms and molecules, and potentially other quantum hardware systems. Congrats to the entire team and thank you to Weijun and Siwei for leading this! Link:

April 3, 2023

Paper on holographic optical tweezer arrays is out

In this work, we demonstrate that holographic metasurfaces can generate versatile optical tweezer arrays. We demonstrate exotic lattice geometries in 1D, 2D, and 3D, including necklace, triangular, Kagome, honeycomb, twisted bilayer. We are excited to apply this for the generation of atomic tweezer arrays. In collaboration with our Columbia colleagues Nanfang Yu and Ana Asenjo-Garcia, and thanks to Xiaoyan Huang and Weijun Yuan for leading this effort! Link: Prog. Quantum Electron. 100470 (2023)




Our lab is featured in recent videos:

The Coldest Place in New York

Nobel Prize 2022 - Quantum Entanglement

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