Current Research Projects

Scroll down for an introduction to each project and/or follow the links for further information.

A description of former research projects can be found here.

Experiment: Soliton / Strontium / RbCs / Blockade / Rydberg / Slowlight / Polar / Nanowire / YbCs / Cold Beams

Soliton - Bright matter-wave solitons: formation, dynamics and quantum reflection.
C.S. Adams & S.L. Cornish
Solitons are self-focusing wave packets that can propagate over long distances without change in shape, and emerge from collisions unaltered. Bose-Einstein condensates support both bright and dark soliton solutions. The goal of this project is to study the formation, dynamics and quantum reflection of bright matter-wave solitons using 85Rb condensates. More.
Strontium - Ultracold plasma physics with strontium.
M.P.A. Jones
In a new direction at Durham, we are currently developing an experiment which will use ultra-cold strontium atoms in an optical lattice to study the behaviour of electrons in dense, highly excited Rydberg gases, and in ultra-cold mixtures of atoms and ions. The ultimate goal is to be able to control electron transport in an ultra-cold gas at the level of a single atom or ion. More...
RbCs - ultracold atoms and molecules.
S.L. Cornish
The physics accessible with ultracold and quantum-degenerate Rb-Cs mixtures is extremely rich due to the unique Cs-Cs scattering behaviour. The measurement of interspecies collisions in a magnetic trap paves the way for sympathetic cooling the mixture to degeneracy and the existence of interspecies Feshbach resonances opens a route to the creation of ultracold polar molecules. More...
Blockade - Photon entanglement via Rydberg blockade
J. Pritchard, A. Gauguet, M.P.A. Jones & C.S. Adams
We are developing a single photon quantum gates for use in quantum information. Rydberg atoms have enhanced dipole-dipole interactions ~n11/R6 which detunes the doubly excited state off-resonance. This leads to a blockade which permits only a single excitation within a given volume known as a blockade sphere. Confining a dense atomic sample within a ~1 um3, this blockade phenomenon can be used to entangle a pair of single photons.More...
Thermal atomic vapours
James Keaveney, Christopher Carr, Monsit Tanasittikosol, Kevin Weatherill, Ulrich Kröhn, Ifan Hughes & C.S. Adams
Thermal atomic vapours are a useful tool for probing many areas of fundamental physics, and have many applications beyond their increasingly common use as an atomic frequency reference for laser locking. We investigate strong interactions and Rydberg excitation in thermal ensembles of rubidium and caesium. More...
Slowlight - Subluminal propagation of light.
M.A. Zentile, L. Weller, P. Siddons, C.S. Adams & I.G. Hughes
The ability of slow-light media to dynamically control the propagation speed and polarisation state of light makes slow light a useful tool for quantum information processing and interferometry. Here in Durham we are mainly interested in the propagation of light through atomic media with a linear response to More...
Polar - Ultracold Polar Molecules.
D. Carty
We plan to create dense ensembles of trapped ground-state polar molecules at ultracold temperatures. Collision dynamics inside the trap will be investigated to determine the possibility of evaporatively cooling the molecules further to form a molecular Bose-Einstein Condensate. Sympathetic cooling with strontium will also be investigated.
Nanowire - Mobile Atom Traps via Magnetic Domain Walls
I.G. Hughes, C.S. Adams, K.J.Weatherill & A.D.West.
We are planning to create mobile atom traps for ultracold Rubidium via the use of magnetic domain walls in nanowires which will give confinement of the atoms through the use of TOP traps. The use of nanowires may lead to a number of areas of study including surface interactions and the dynamics of bouncing atoms. More...
YbCs - MicroKelvin Molecules in a Quantum Array
S.L. Cornish
Ultracold molecules offer a number of advantages over atoms for applications in precision measurement and quantum simulation. The goal of this project is to create a gas of ultracold YbCs molecules confined on a three-dimensional optical lattice. Such a system has the potential to simulate a range of lattice spin models by virtue of the fact that the molecules possess both electric and magnetic dipole moments. More...
Cold Beams - Ion and Electron Beams from Laser Cooled Atoms
K. J. Weatherill
The performance of ion and electron beams are largely determined by the properties of the source. By using laser cooled atoms as the source for ion and electron beams we can have great contol over the resultant beams. More...
Theory: Solitons / Chaos / Intense / Interstellar / Molecular
Solitons - BEC theory and the formation of bright matter-wave solitons.
T.P. Billam, D.I.H. Holdaway, S.A. Wrathmall, S.L. Cornish & S.A. Gardiner
Bright matter-wave solitons are self-stabilizing, coherent aggregrations of ultracold bosonic atoms which exist in a near 1D configuration and are robust to collisions. They display a remarkable degree of stability, and are generally assumed to be phase-coherent with one another. The ultimate goal of our research is a comprehensive understanding $ leading to bright matter-wave soliton formation, including both the initial collapse process and the long-term stability of the thus-formed solitons. More...
Chaos - Quantum chaos in atomic systems.
P. Halkyard, M. Saunders & S.A. Gardiner
Cold alkali atomic gases have proved a rich testing ground for quantum chaotic dynamics. There is a theoretical program on quantum accelerator modes (right), a quantum resonance phenomenon partly explained by classical nonlinear dynamics, and of the sensitivity to gravity of quantum resonances in laser-driven, freely falling cold atomic gases. More...
Intense - Atoms and ions in intense laser pulses.
R.M. Potvliege
The theoretical topics in the physics of intense laser fields studied at Durham currently include: The interaction of ultra-short (few-cycle) pulses with atoms and ions, in particular the interplay between classical dynamics and quantum mechanics revealed by the energy and angular distributions of the photoelectrons; The interaction of ultra-strong pulses with relativistic ions; How and why the spectrum of the quasistationary states of atoms exposed to an intense laser field vary with wavelength and intensity. More...
Interstellar - Atomic and molecular processes in the interstellar medium.
M. Akyilmaz, A. Gusdorf, S. Wrathmall & D.R. Flower
There are a number of directions in the field of molecular astrophysics currently pursued at Durham. These include rovibrational excitation of interstellar molecules, shocks in regions of star formation, the early stages of protostellar collapse, and photodissociation regions. More...
Molecular - Theoretical Chemical Dynamics.
J.M. Hutson
Jeremy Hutson is Professor in Chemistry at the University of Durham, and is leader of the Theoretical Chemical Dynamics Group. The group's main research interests include, Formation and properties of ultracold molecules, Van der Waals complexes and intermolecular forces, Dynamics of atomic and molecular clusters, Non-additive intermolecular forces, and Applications of high-performance computing in chemical physics. For anyone interested in finding out more about our work, please follow the link to the Theoretical Chemical Dynamics Group website in Chemistry.