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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Ultracold and ultrafast - a story of atoms and light

Date: Thursday, Apr 25th
Presenter: Michaela Kleinert, Department of Physics, Willamette University


Ultracold atoms and molecules are very cold indeed: At only about a millionth of the temperature of outer space (a few micro Kelvin), their internal and external motion becomes essentially frozen, and high precision studies of their quantum mechanical properties become possible. This leads to exciting applications ranging from the confirmation of the standard model of particle physics to quantum computers. In this talk I will introduce you to my research on ultracold rubidium and calcium atoms, and their molecular dimer RbCa. I will also give you a glimpse into a much warmer and faster place: Ultrafast industrial lasers. These lasers can be used as "brute force" cutting instruments, but also as high-precision "scissors". We just recently acquired such a laser and are now interested in ablation studies. Results of these studies have direct consequences for industrial applications using ultrafast lasers.