DAMOP Day 3-3.5

Friday morning at DAMOP was probably the thinnest part of the program, at least for me. Annoyingly, this was the day that my cold (or possibly allergies-- whatever it was that had my head full of goo) let go, so I was the most awake and alert I managed for the entire conference.

I watched a few talks in the ultracold molecules session, where I heard about the remarkable progress being made in producing large numbers of ultra-cold molecules, generally diatomic alkali molecules (Rb2, KRb, LiCs, etc.). This is an area where relatively standard techniques seem to work surprisingly well. This is not a slam on the people doing the experiments, though-- this is good, solid physics, and sets them up for cool things in the future.

In the late-morning session, I went to the oddly named focus session on "Interactions Between Individual Atoms." The name was slightly unusual, but fairly accurate, as it opened with two talks on using long-range interactions between Rydberg states , by Tatjana Wilk and Mark Saffman, both of whom are using dipole traps to trap individual atoms separated by several microns, and demonstrating that the state of one atom affects their ability to excite nearby atoms. This is, of course, potentially useful for quantum computing.

They were followed by John Jost on entangling trapped ions, Wes Campbell on exciting trapped ions with fast pulses, and Nathan Lundblad on interactions between atom pairs in an optical lattice. All of these are also connected to quantum computing, which is why the session name was both accurate and surprising.

After lunch, I caught the session on "Quantum Information with Matter and Light," so it was a good day for talks about quantum information. This included a nice talk on the teleportation between ytterbium ions that made news a few months back.

Friday night was the conference banquet, which was held in the basketball arena. Seriously. They set up a 10x10 grid of tables on the floor of the arena, and served dinner there. I've never seen that before.

Saturday had a full day worth of stuff scheduled, but I couldn't stay for more than the first session, where I caught three very good talks on experimental attempts to demonstrate quantum effects with small but macroscopic objects. The fourth speaker started off with some technical difficulties, and I took that as a Sign that the meeting was over for me, and headed out.

All in all, a good meeting, with lots of interesting science. I may or may not get around to posting some comments about various incidental things, but for now, I need to go play with SteelyKid, who only got cuter in my absence.


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