JILA Fellow Adam Kaufman wins Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

Published: 04-08-2020

The Office of Naval Research has awarded JILA Fellow Adam Kaufman one of its prestigious 2020 Young Investigator Awards. The ONR program rewards early career scientists “who show exceptional promise for doing creative research”—and Kaufman is a most deserving recipient.

“This selection recognizes both his past accomplishments and his vision for developing optical tweezer arrays for demonstrating useful quantum computing,” said Tom Perkins, acting NIST Quantum Physics Division Chief. “Congratulations to Adam for his selection as a ONR 2020 Young Investigator.”

"JILA is delighted that Adam's accomplishments and exciting future project plans are being recognized by this award,” said JILA Chair Andreas Becker. “Congratulations to Adam."

Kaufman and his team specialize in optical tweezers—tightly focused beams of light which manipulate and precisely control individual atoms. Optical tweezers have transformed quantum science research, and the Kaufman Group at JILA has explored new frontiers with this technology.

“A key development that came out of our group was to apply this technology, for the first time, to an alkaline-earth atom, like strontium or ytterbium—atoms which are famous for their use in atomic clocks and quantum science broadly. We focus on how to combine these favorable properties of alkaline-earth atoms with the capabilities afforded by optical tweezer technology to, for instance, build large quantum entangled systems,” Kaufman said.

The ONR Young Investigator award includes $510,000 over a three-year period. Kaufman plans to use quantum information entangling protocols to assemble entangled states that could impact enhanced atomic clock architectures. This research could extend beyond atomic clocks, including quantum computing and many-body physics.

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