- Keck 1247
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Atomic systems occupy a beautiful niche in physics. Atoms and molecules are often simple enough to be quite tractable theoretically while offering a rich internal structure and a varied array of interactions that may be probed and controlled by the experimentalist. Understanding these details is of course imperative for learning about the atoms themselves. However, our control over these systems also gives us an opportuntity to use them as tools for exploring phenomena in other areas of physics and chemistry, ranging from condensed matter to cosmology. Furthermore, when properly harnessed atoms find a host of technological applications, such as quantum-limited sensing or as reference oscillators for the atomic clocks that underpin the Global Positioning System.
The Doret Lab is particularly interested in the application of simple systems of trapped atomic and molecular ions to two major areas of experimental research: quantum simulation - in which a trapped-ion crystal is used to simulate the behavior of a more complicated quantum system; and precision measurement - wherein precise measurements of atomic structure and interactions can provide insight into the type of questions more commonly associated with huge accelerators and elementary particle physics.