Physics highlights Lundblad’s work to solve ‘annoying situation’

The journal Physics highlights Bates physicist Nathan Lundblad‘s efforts, with colleagues, to solve an “annoying situation” involving optically trapped atoms and the broadening of their resonance frequencies, a problem caused by the trap itself. “The idea,” he tells us, “is that untrapped atoms in a vacuum have a ‘true’ resonance frequency or energy separation, and the fact that we trap them (to make something useful) blurs this resonance.” The worse the blurring, the worse the instrument using such atoms, like an atomic clock or quantum computer. The experiment cited in Physics seems to solve this problem, making trapped atoms respond spectroscopically as if they were still in a vacuum. View story from Physics, March 30, 2010.

Also, view a video of Lundblad talking about his research on the behavior of atoms at near absolute zero that won a competitive $388,000 Department of Defense grant.