James Millen

April 2011: I have passed my Ph. D. viva voce! Many thanks to Team Strontium for getting me to this point. I have now started work as a PDRA in Peter Barker's group at UCL. Please contact me on or

February 2011: Two new papers! You can read "Spectroscopy of a cold strontium Rydberg gas" here arXiv:1102.2715. The paper outlines our techniques for Rydberg state spectroscopy, and a theoretical framework for calculating the properties of strontium. You can read "Many-body Physics with Alkaline-Earth Rydberg lattices" here arXiv:1102.3792. This paper discusses the idea of simultaneously trapping Rydberg atoms and ground state atoms, the interactions between strontium Rydberg states, and the possibility of greating GHZ states in an optical lattice.

13th October 2010: I helped out at the Making Architecture Count event at Belsay Hall in Northumberland, run by Northern Architecture. A slightly manic day, trying to help 90 KS3 kids study the mathematics of architecture, with just one other person! I think we pulled it off though...

October 2010: Our paper, "Two-electron excitation of an interacting cold Rydberg gas", has been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters! Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 213004 (2010)

September 2010: We attended the "Cold Rydberg and ultra-cold Plasmas 2010" (CRYP10) conference at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPIPKS) in Dresden. We presented this poster, and Matt gave a talk. I think I can safely say our work was well received, and gathered some interest!

August 2010: We have submitted our paper "Two-electron excitation of an interacting cold Rydberg gas" for publication. The arXiv link is: arXiv:1008.4512v1 [physics.atom-ph]

August 2010: I took part in the Bang goes the theory roadshow at Hartlepool Tall Ships. I got to explain floating beach balls, rockets, chaotic weather systems and, um, vibrating water!

July 2010: I was interviewed for the Guardian, for my outreach work. You can download the article here: Guardian Article .

March 2010: Our spectroscopy paper has finally been published in hard copy! You can find "Modulation-free pump-probe spectroscopy of strontium atoms" at reference Eur. Phys. J. D 57, 151-154 (2010).

1st February 2010: We have succesfully applied for £2000 to run an outreach project in National Science Week. We will present a workshop on how lasers can be used to remotely monitor ice melting over five days, at five schools. The project is aimed at sixth formers.

24th March 2010: The project is now finished. The website can be viewed here, and some pictures etc should appear at some point on our outreach page.

22nd October 2009: I seem to have become a STEMNET poster boy!

8th October 2009: I helped out with the "Making Architecture Count" event, organised by Northern Architecture. We discovered the many patterns of scale to be found in Durham Cathedral, and of course the common occurance of the Golden Ratio. Best quote of the day "Sir, sir, that architecture is mint!".

7th-11th September 2009 : I presented a poster on our work at the International Conference on Quantum, Atomic, Molecular and Plasma Physics (QuAMP) in Leeds. I also attended the week long conference, and saw many (many) interesting talks. In particular it was good to hear about the strontium latice clock project at NPL, and the ultra-cold Argon project at UCL looks fascinating.

26th August 2009 : As part of the Science: [So What? So Everything] campaign, in my role as a Science Ambassador, I took part in the "Seaside Science" event on Scarborough beach. I had a lot of fun playing with liquid nitrogen, water rockets, balloons and the like. Parents were very glad to have a free rainy-day activity for the kids!

11th June 2009 : Jon, Tom and I went to lovely Alnwick gardens to do a 20 minute workshop (many times!) to 7-11 year olds. Our workshop was called "Talking with light". We learnt that kids like green light shining through perspex, love Morse code, and think tin-can telephones are the best thing ever (as pictured). We also learnt that 7 year olds are a lot smarter than you might think if you ask them the right questions.

9th March 2009 : I was selected to present a poster on our work for the "SET for Britain" competition at the houses of parliament. Unfortunately I didn't win! It seems like you already need your Ph.D. to do that (!). Mark and I were picked from over 600 applicants (there were 180 on display).

February 2009 : The paper we wrote on spectroscopy techniques for laser stabalisation in the second generation strontium vapour cell, built by Clementine Javaux, is on the ArXiv here. We hope to get it published in J. Phys. B.

January 2009 : The paper we wrote on our Strontium dispenser cell, built by Elizabeth Bridge for her 4th year project has been published in the Review of Scientific Instruments here, or you can find it on the ArXiv here.

November 2008 : I spent two weeks in Phillip Grangier's group at Institut d'Optique in Orsay. I gave a presentation, and got to see a little of Paris also.

15th August 2008 (17:30 to be exact): We have created a strontium MOT!

14th-16th May 2008:We attended a conference on Rydberg Excited Atoms organised by the University of Arhus, in Denmark. You can see the poster we presented here.

25th-29th March 2008:I attended the Young Atomic Opticians (YAO) conference in Florence, Italy. Of particular interest to me was the strontium MOT they have at LENS.

November 2007: We have published a paper on Electromagnetically Induced Transparency in Rydberg states of strontium. You can find it here.

Content © James Millen, Durham University 2009