Quantum Correlated States and Measurement for Fundamental Physics

Science illustration.

The JILA PFC takes advantage of AMO techniques and fundamental understandings gained from quantum many-body systems, and turns them into quantum resources for broadly advancing measurement science. We develop quantum-correlated states and novel light sources that hold promise for new measurement paradigms, and carry out tabletop AMO experiments that probe meaning and fundamental understanding of the physical Universe.

The JILA PFC believes that measurement is a topic worthy of understanding in its own right. Quantum mechanics teaches that measurement is manipulation, which is usually understood to mean the death of coherence via the collapse of a wave function. But an explicitly many-body measurement can instead project a system onto an interesting many-body state! A key goal of our work is to use ideas such as how to suppress the imprecision that arises from quantum fluctuations of individual subsystems and thus enable a new generation of precision experiments. In particular, our work harnesses strong light-matter interactions as well as the interactions between atoms within an ensemble to create and manipulate interparticle correlations and entanglement.

Precision measurement can be a tool to probe many-body quantum mechanics and related emergent phenomena. But the science payoff can be broader yet. While searches for new fundamental physics within cosmology and particle physics usually rely on accelerators or telescopes, we are excited by the notion that a third approach, precision measurement of eV-scale phenomena, can provide a useful triangulation. Among the projects within this activity are an exploration of a different dark matter hypothesis through the latest advances in optical atomic clocks, and an exploration of the baryogenesis problem based on precision molecular spectroscopy.

Specific projects within this major activity

  • Search for new physics in fundamental symmetry, including the search for the electron’s electric dipole moment (eEDM), and the search for ultralight dark matter with atomic clocks
  • Development of robust quantum resources based on collective physics, by investigating new paths for generating entanglement  and squeezing, controlling decoherence, and characterizing entanglement
  • Measurement and information with frontier light source, including ultrashort pulses from the extreme ultraviolet to soft x-ray regime via UV-driven harmonic generation,nonclassical light transduced via nanomechanical motion, and light with extreme coherence with a superradiant laser