Exploring High-impact Synergistic Research Directions

A key aspect of the JILA-PFC is the willingness of its scientists to import and export interesting ideas and technologies into and out of the JILA-PFC. This interactive strategy has not only opened the door to creative collaborations with the Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology as well as the School of Engineering at the University of Colorado, but also with NIST, Boulder.

Some of the exciting connections made to JILA-PFC research include molecular beam technology that has enabled studies of the liquid-gas interface, a tabletop apparatus that produces ultrafast x-rays used in probing energy flow through proteins, fundamental physics research resulting in improved precision measurement technologies, the development of atom chips, and the creation of a new field of research known as atomtronics, in which scientists create ultracold atom analogs of electronic devices and circuits.

The connections to JILA-PFC research extend far beyond the academic community. For instance, a local Colorado company, ColdQuanta, was spun off from the JILA-PFC in 2007. ColdQuanta sells atom chip Bose-Einstein condensate vacuum cells, a commercial BEC system, and atom-chip and miniature vacuum cell technology, all of which have roots in JILA-PFC research, as does NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) project. This multiuser ultracold atom facility, scheduled for launch in 2016, will provide a low-temperature, gravity-free research environment unavailable here on Earth. The laboratory is a pathfinder experiment for future quantum sensors based on laser-cooled atoms.


  • Ana Maria Rey
  • Dana Anderson
  • David Nesbitt
  • Henry Kapteyn
  • Jun Ye
  • Margaret Murnane
  • Murray Holland
  • Ralph Jimenez