Atoms can be manipulated and controlled using laser light in a variety of ways. Our research focuses on using laser light to manipulate and detect atoms individually, and using laser controlled atoms for for making precise instruments.
Our single-atom sensitive optical microscope provides us with a tool to directly investigate quantum processes. Watching how small groups of atoms behave when exposed to externally controlled laser pulses gives us new knowledge about the quantum world, that we use to understand complex systems, and for the development of future technologies such as quantum computers.
Quantum mechanics predicts that matter possesses both wave and particle properties. Using laser cooled atoms, we exploit the fundamental wave-nature of matter to build an interferometer that uses atoms as the interfering waves. We put each atom into a coherent superposition of different momentum states which then simultaneously traverse the different paths in the interferometer. Such atomic interferometers play an essential role in many high precision measurements.