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The Will Lab investigates quantum systems of ultracold atoms and molecules. We cool atoms and molecules to ultracold temperatures just a sliver above absolute zero - reaching the coldest temperatures allowed by nature. Close to absolute zero temperature, the behavior of particles is ultimately 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. 

With ultracold atoms and molecules we create novel many-body quantum systems, perform quantum simulations of strongly interacting matter, and work towards single atom and single molecule control. 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 Updates

March 24, 2018

Join us at Joint Quantum Symposium from April 5 till 6 at the NYU Campus! With this workshop - organized in collaboration with NYU and IBM Q - we intend to connect groups and labs in the wider New York area with an interest in quantum science and technology. Speakers are from academia, national labs, and industry, including Jay Gambetta (IBM) and Chris Monroe (JQI). To register please send a message to Registration is free. Flyer here.

February  21, 2018

We are co-organizing the workshop Low Energy Challenges for High Energy Physicists from June 18 till June 21, 2018 at Perimeter Institute. Registration will be open shortly. Please contact Sebastian Will if you have questions.

January  31, 2018

The QClub kicked off today. QClub is a new seminar series, organized jointly by Columbia University and New York University. QClub is intended to strengthen the network of quantum researchers in the New York area. Please send an email to Sebastian Will and Javad Shabani if you would like to participate! 

December  19, 2017

Sebastian receives a Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant. Thank you to the Lenfest Program! 

July  28, 2017

Results on second-long coherence time in ultracold NaK molecules reported in Science. Read the full report here and news coverage at MIT and Columbia.

July  11, 2017

Sebastian gives a chalk board seminar on quantum control of ultracold molecules at Aspen Center for Physics.

May 1, 2017

Will Lab had an exciting first semester at Columbia University. During the spring semester we had the honor to welcome many visitors: Peter Abbamonte, Andrea Cavalleri, Eric Cornell, Alessandra Lanzara, Leo Radzihovsky, Mike Tarbutt, Jun Ye, and Martin Zwierlein. Now we look forward to a productive summer in the lab!

February 21, 2017

Sebastian receives a 2017 Sloan Research Fellowship. Thank you to the Sloan Foundation!

April 19, 2019

The Joint Quantum Symposium 2019 has been a great success. Thanks to all the speakers and the many, many attendees! Many thanks for the generous support from Bloomberg, IBM Q, Toptica Photonics, Vescent Photonics, and Quantum Design, as well as the Columbia Physics Department and the Data Science Institute for organizational support. Pictures of the symposium are available here. Looking forward to see you at Joint Quantum Symposium 2020!

March 14, 2019

We are hosting the 2nd Joint Quantum Symposium on April 18-19, 2019 at Columbia University. The topics include quantum networks, quantum materials, quantum simulation and quantum compu-ting. Registration is open until April 14. Register now! For more information visit

March 8, 2019


Sebastian receives a prestigious CAREER Award of the National Science Foundation! More information here.

October 21, 2018

Sebastian speaks at the workshop on Precision Many Body Physics at UMass Amherst from October 20 - 22, 2018 about many-body physics with ultracold dipolar molecules. Flyer here.

June 25, 2018

Ian Stevenson joins our group as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist supported by the Earnest Kempton Adams (EKA) Fund. Welcome, Ian! 

April 18, 2018

Sebastian gives a chalk board talk on quantum control of ultracold molecules at the Erwin Schroedinger Institute in Vienna.

March 28, 2018

Congratulations to Claire Warner on being awarded an NSERC Doctoral Scholarship! 

September 16, 2020

First Cesium Bose-Einstein condensate in the NaCs lab! Less than a year after the Sodium BEC, we have made the Cesium BECs in the same apparatus, lowering the temperature of the coldest spot in NYC by another factor of 10 to about 10 nanokelvin above absolute zero.



September 1, 2020


Welcome to a new element at Will Lab! Today we observed the first signal of strontium in our new TweeSr apparatus, adding another beautiful hue to the lab! For more information on TweeSr click here.

August 24, 2020


Our work on the first demonstration of microwave dressing of ultracold dipolar molecules is out! The dressing leads to resonant dipolar interactions with important implications for quantum simulation and quantum computation with dipolar molecules. Paper and Physics Feature

June 24, 2020

Sebastian receive a 2020 RISE Award together with Daniel Savin to investigate novel concepts for generating, manipulating, and trapping pure samples of complex organic molecules. We are looking forward t this exciting research project. More information here

June 3, 2020

Aden gave a great talk at DAMOP and Claire presented great poster - check out the presentation video at DAMOP and youtube. Feel free to reach out if you have questions! 

February 7, 2020

First magneto-optical trap of cesium at Columbia!  We are creating laser-cooled ensembles of cesium in the main chamber of our ultracold molecules apparatus - a crucial step on the way to assembling ultracold NaCs molecules from Na and Cs atoms. Congrats to the entire team!!


November 18, 2019

EKA reception

We are hosting Immanuel Bloch who gives the Earnest Kempton Adams Lecture 2019 and speaks about "Many-Body Quantum Dynamics under the Microscope." Thank you very much for the visit and the inspiring lecture! 

First Bose-Einstein Condensate in New York City! We have created the first atomic BEC at Columbia University, making Will Lab the coldest spot in New York City :) 

Congratulations to the entire team - especially Aden, Claire, Niccolò, and Ian - for making this possible only about one year after moving into the renovated labs! This is a tremendous achievement.

October 17, 2019


August 13, 2019


We are excited to receive a prestigeous QII-TAQS grant from the National Science Foundation! In collaboration with Co-PIs Ana Asenjo-Garcia and Nanfang Yu, we will realize a new type of programmable atomic tweezer array and explore novel schemes to enhance coherence of atomic excitations in such arraysMore information here. There are exciting grad student and postdoc opportunities on this project - don't hesitate to contact Sebastian Will. See also press release.

December 12, 2020

Our new paper on our newly developed compact 2D MOT for Cesium is out on arxiv. The setup has helped us to make a Cesium BEC within 10 months despite a 3 months lab shutdown due to COVID. Congrats to the entire NaCs team on the amazing work! Link: arXiv:2012.06688

September 25, 2020




We are excited to receive one of the competitive NSF Convergence Accelerator grants. In this project, we will lead the development of an integrated quantum simulator based on programmable atom arrays. We are looking forward to an exciting collaboration with colleagues at Columbia University, Brookhaven National Lab, CUNY, Flatiron Institute, and industry partners from Atom Computing, QuEra, IBM and Bloomberg. More details here. See also press release.  

December 21, 2020

The entire Will Lab wishes happy and healthy holidays and a great start into the New Year 2021! Thank you to the TweeSr team for the beautiful holiday visual!

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