Ongoing Projects:

  • Characterizing the vertical structure of the ocean: We have branched out into environmental remote sensing and are developing a commercial, ship-deployed LIDAR system to characterize the vertical structure of the ocean with a sensitivity greater than available with satellites or aircraft (with Richard Zimmerman, ODU and Victoria Hill, ODU).
  • Metastable atom source production: We are investigating the use of UV light to produce metastable-state noble gases (with Z.T. Lu, Hefei National Laboratory, Will Williams, Smith College).
  • Supersonic flow diagnostics: We are investigating spectroscopic techniques involving noble gases for characterizing supersonic flow in the NASA Langley wind tunnel (with Greg Herring, NASA Langley).
  • Light Scattering in Ultracold Atomic Gases: We are investigating control of light scattering in dense, ultracold atomic gases (with D. Kupriyanov and I. Sokolov (St. Petersburg State)).

Completed Projects:

  • Ultracold heteronuclear trap loss: We were the first to realize a dual-species magneto-optical trap (MOT) confining atoms from different columns of the periodic table. Specifically, our alkali – noble gas trap confined rubidium and metastable-state argon. We measured trap loss coefficients and investigated trap loss mechanisms.
  • Coherent backscattering of light: We investigated the coherent backscattering of near resonant light from samples of ultracold rubidium atoms. This process is sometimes referred to as “weak localization of light” and results from a coherent enhancement of the scattering amplitude in the backward direction. (with Mark Havey (ODU), D. Kupriyanov and I. Sokolov (St. Petersburg State)).
  • Pulsed optical dipole force trapping: Motivated by a desire to use the free electron laser (FEL) at Jefferson Laboratory to create energetically deep and/or spatially large traps, we have investigated the dynamics of dipole force trapping in both the continuous-wave (cw) and pulsed regime using a Nd:YAG laser on campus. (The FEL is a sub-ps pulsed laser). We have also performed spectroscopy on the trapped atoms as a tool to characterize the laser interaction with the atoms (with Mark Havey (ODU), Bob Jones, (UVa), and Donghyun Cho (Korea University)).
  • Long-scan diode laser: We designed and demonstrated a long-scan mode-hop-free semiconductor diode laser operating in injection-locked mode.  This laser was used in photoassociative spectroscopy studies.
  • Two-photon polarization spectroscopy of rubidium: We demonstrated how two-photon polarization spectroscopy in rubidium can be applied to laser frequency stabilization (with Pasad Kulatunga and Hauke Busch (Georgia College and State University)).
  • Ultracold ZEKE Rydberg gases: We investigated the production and survival of so called “ZEKE-states” just below the second ionization limit in argon. These states are high angular momentum Rydberg states with very long lifetimes.
  • Photoassociative spectroscopy of argon and krypton: We have performed photoassociative spectroscopy of ultracold, metastable state argon  (with Matt Walhout, Calvin College) and ultracold, metastable state krypton.
  • Forster Resonances in Ultracold Rb: We investigated Forster resonances of p-state Rydberg atoms created by single photon excitation with a pulsed dye laser and develoed simple models of the experiment (with Will Williams, Smith College and Tom Carroll, Ursinus College).
  • Photoassociative spectroscopy of RbAr: We searched for PAS of ultracold rubidium atoms overlapped with ultracold, metastable state argon atoms in order to identify molecular resonances of excited state RbAr. Such resonances can be used to search for the production of ground state RbAr, a weakly bound van der Waals molecule (with Will Williams, Smith College).