Optics

Category archives for Optics

Last time in our trip through the cold-atom toolbox, we talked about light shifts, where the interaction with a laser changes the internal energy states of an atom in a way that can produce forces on those atoms. This allows the creation of “dipole traps” where cold atoms are held in the focus of a…

The last post in this series on the core technologies of cold-atom physics dealt with optical molasses, where you use the scattering of light to exert forces on atoms to make them very, very cold. It turns out, they end up even colder than the simple theory would lead you to expect, which is very…

`Once upon a time there were three little sisters,’ the Dormouse began in a great hurry; `and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well–’ `What did they live on?’ said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking. `They lived on…

This series of posts is intended to explain the tools and tricks used to create and manipulate samples of ultra-cold atoms; thus, it’s appropriate to start with how we get those atoms in the first place. This will be a very quick background on the basic force used to make atoms cold, and then the…

I have a small collection of recent research papers that I’d like to write up open in various browser tabs and suchlike, but many of these would benefit from having some relatively clear and compact explanations of the underlying techniques. And while I can either dig up some old posts, or Google somebody else’s, it’s…

The other day, I made a suggestion to one of my research students of an experiment to try. When I checked back a day later, she told me it hadn’t worked, and I immediately realized that what I had told her to do was very stupid. As penance, then, I’ll explain the underlying physics, which…

I spend a lot of time promoting Rhett Allain’s Dot Physics blog, enough that some people probably wonder if I get a cut of his royalties (I don’t). I’m going to take issue with his latest, though, because he’s decided to revive his quixotic campaign against photons, or at least teaching about photons early in…

What Is Squeezing?

In the Physics Blogging Request Thread the other day, I got a comment so good I could’ve planted it myself, from Rachel who asks: It’s a term I see used a lot but don’t really know what it means – what is a “squeezed state”? What does “squeezing” mean? (in a QM context of course…)…

I’m always a little ambivalent about writing up papers that have also been written up in Physics: on the one hand, they make a free PDF of the paper available, which allows me to reproduce figures from the paper in my post, since I’m not breaking a paywall to do it. Which makes it much…

Hey, dude? Yeah, what’s up? I’m not normally the one who initiates this, but I was wondering: When you were at DAMOP last week, did you see any really neat physics? Oh, sure, tons of stuff. It was a little thinner than some past meetings– a lot of the Usual Suspects didn’t make the trip–…