CATGroup wishes our summer students a great academic year as the REU program draws to a close. We hope you had fun, Laura, Isabel, Jeremy, and Elisha! :)

July sees NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory making BECs!

NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory launched end of May to the International Space Station!

Things are looking busy in the CAT Group, with Weituo Kong and Elisha Haber coming on board for the summer. Onwards!

We welcome REU students Isabel Fernandez from American University and Laura Early from Juniata College. We look forward to a productive summer!

CAT Group presents at DAMOP: The 49th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A visit to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, and visits to several alligators and birds of the Everglades were made as well!

The BEC lab's vacuum chamber is featured as the central figure in this issue of the Rochester Review! Is vacuum really "nothing"?


CAT Group alumnus Steven Torrisi has been awarded a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF). Steven is currently a doctoral candidate in Prof. Efthimios Kaxiras’s group at Harvard University. Congratulations Steven!

Joseph D. Murphree successfully completed his qualifying exam. Congratulations Joe!

Congratulations to Maitreyi Jayaseelan for successfully completing her qualifying exam!

Anna Slattery finished up her REU project with a great poster presentation.  Check out this article about U of R's Physics REU program to learn more about her project involving a digital micromirror device (DMD).  Great work, Anna, and best of luck with your senior year!

Welcome to Zekai Chen and Anna Slattery!  Zekai continues his graduate work in the department, adding another vacuum chamber and MOT to the group's capabilities.  Anna comes to us from Bethel University to do an REU project developing a DMD system to create structured light beams.  We hope they have a fun and productive summer!

Congratulations to Dr. Justin T. Schultz!  Justin won the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation Award for Engineering with his dissertation "Singular Atom Optics via Stimulated Raman Interactions in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates."  Way to go, Justin!


Congratulations to Dr. Justin T. Schultz on defending his PhD "Singular Atom Optics via Stimulated Raman Interactions in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates." Best wishes for your postdoc with Profs. Stroud and Vamivakas in The Institute of Optics! The CAT Group is lucky that you will be in Rochester for a couple more years. 

Congratulations to Dr. Azure Hansen!!! Azure successfully defended her thesis "Topological Spin Textures in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates Generated by Stimulated Raman Interactions." Congratulations, Azure!!

Welcome to our summer REU students Gavriel Kleinwaks from Haverford and Morgan Clark from Union College! We hope they have a fun and productive time in Rochester!

Welcome to Jonathan VanCourt who is gaining some experience in the Ultracold Polar Molecules Lab this summer before he joins the Department of Physics and Astronomy here at the University of Rochester as a graduate student!

Welcome to Aiden (Ziyue) Wang! Aiden is beginning a project building an updated and flexible timing computer for the BEC Lab this summer.

Marek Haruza was awarded the Hooker Graduate Fellowship, which goes to an outstanding graduate student whose work has important impacts on chemistry. The fellowship is funded by a gift in memory of Mr. Elon Huntington Hooker, a graduate and Trustee of the University of Rochester. Congratulations Marek!

Congratulations to Steven Torrisi and Ananya Sitaram who graduated this weekend! Steven won the Janet Fogg Prize in recognition of his dedicated service inside and outside the classroom to the well-being of all students served by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and will be headed to grad school at Harvard University. Ananya received the Stoddard Prize for the best senior thesis in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and will be attending grad school at the University of Maryland! Congratulations Steven and Ananya! 

Our paper "Creating full-Bloch Bose-Einstein condensates with Raman q-plates" was published in the Journal of Optics.

Congratulations to Ananya Sitaram for winning a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! 

Our paper "Singular atom optics with spinor Bose-Einstein condensates", was published in Optica.

The BEC lab's paper "Raman fingerprints on the Bloch sphere of a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate", was accepted to the special issue "20 years of Bose-Einstein Condensates: Current trends and applications of ultracold quantum gases" of the 
Journal of Modern Optics! The arXiv version is here, full citation at J. Mod. Opt. here

An exhibit on daguerreotypes and their connections to local history is on display at Rush Rhees Library on UR's campus.  


CAT group REU student Cedric Wilson and UR undergrads Ananya Sitaram and Steven Torrisi present at OSA/APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics Symposium on Undergraduate Research in San Jose (abstracts).  See Steven's reflections on the event written for the Society of Physics Students (SPS) here.

The Institute of Optics awards Best Teaching Assistant to Justin T. Schultz for the Spring 2015 Semester at the biannual Industrial Associates Meeting. Congrats and Thanks to the students in Carlos Stroud's class, Optics 412: Quantum Mechanics for Optics!

The BEC lab attends the International Conference on Optical Angular Momentum (ICOAM) at City College of New York and gets many new ideas on exploring vortices in cold atoms. 

All members of the CAT group present their latest work at DAMOP on Rydberg & ultracold molecules and vortex spin textures. 

The 2015 Rochester Precision Optics Award for Outstanding Graduate Project in The Institute of Optics is presented to Justin T. Schultz for "A Spin on Atom Optics: A Raman Waveplate for Polarimetry on Atoms." Congrats & thanks to RPO

Justin T. Schultz gives a Center for Coherence & Quantum Optics seminar to the UR QO community on our recent atom optics work. 

The BEC lab enrolls in a massive open online course through Delft and the University of Maryland on EdX. "Topology in Condensed Matter: Tying Quantum Knots" will help us connect our experiments on spin textures to work in other fields


Our undergraduate and NSF-REU students present their research on BECs & daguerreotypes at the OSA/APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics Symposium on Undergraduate Research in Tucson (abstracts) as well as at the Syracuse Physics Undergraduate Research Day. 

Justin T. Schultz gives a seminar at the Rochester Institute of Technology's Photons After Dark on atom optics and our recent Raman waveplate publication

Thanks to funding support from JQI, APS, and UR, the BEC lab attends the International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP) in Washington DC to present their recent work on vortex spin textures, geometric phases in atom optics, and quantum gates. Justin T. Schultz won one of six poster prizes for "An analog of polarization in atom optics: a Raman waveplate to measure the Gouy phase in matter waves" (thanks EPL & JQI!). 

The BEC lab publishes a new atom optics technique in Optics Letters (arXiv). 

The CAT group attends DAMOP in Madison, WI to enjoy many sessions that resonate with our interests and give four presentations on research in both labs. 

Prof. Bigelow speaks about recent work on the nanophysics of daguerreotypes at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting and The Institute of Optics colloquium. Undergraduate Emily Thompson (Clemson) presents her work on the effects of guilding, biology, light exposure, and more on the daguerreotype at the APS April Meeting. Learn more here

NASA's Physical Science Research Program funds the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) on the International Space Station (ISS) in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Bigelow group is part of the Consortium for Ultracold Atoms in Space. We are excited to help BEC physics boldly go to new frontiers. Read more about the CAL project, ISS research, and JPL's first bec

The BEC lab gets a spatial light modulator to expand our spin texture generation capabilities, including higher-order vortices and knots. 


Justin Lovegrove, a postdoc with Janne Ruostekoski at Southampton (UK), spends a few days with the BEC lab discussing our overlapping interests in vortices in spinor BECs. The CAT BEC researchers travelled to Cornell University with Lovegrove to visit with Erich Mueller and Mukund Vengalattore as well. Thanks to all who made it a productive and enjoyable meeting of spinor enthusiasts. 

Our NSF-REU students presents their work at the Symposium on Undergraduate Research at the annual Frontiers in Optics meeting in Orlando. Read their abstract here

We achieve our first MOT in the teaching lab setup--learn more here. The experiment is moving to its new home in the advanced laboratory where UofR undergraduates will gain hands-on experience with ultracold atoms. 

Azure Hansen and Justin T. Schultz volunteer at the The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) and Monroe Community College (MCC) Optics Summer Sizzler program, helping high school students learn optics through hands-on lab work. Learn more here

Prof. Bigelow completes his service as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

The Rochester Conference on Coherence and Quantum Optics, founded 60 years ago, is hosted by UofR. The CAT group joins the quantum optics community in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Jaynes-Cummings model and learning about innovations in the last six years. Read more about the conference here and here

Marek Haruza attends the International Conference on Laser Spectroscopy (ICOLS) at Berkeley and presents our work on ultracold NaCs. 

The CAT group enjoys DAMOP in Quebec with our growing network of first, second, and third-order alumni. We presented two posters and one talk, representing recent work from both labs. 

Undergraduate Louis Baum wins the Stoddard Best Senior Thesis Prize (Physics BS) for "Construction and Characterization of an Interference-Filter-Stabilized External-Cavity Diode Laser," advised by Azure Hansen and Justin T. Schultz. Learn more about his thesis and the Bigelow group's undergraduate research activities here

Justin T. Schultz attends the Young Atom Opticians (YAO) conference at the University of Birmingham, UK, and presents our work on imaging ultracold atoms, then visits a number of UK cold atom and singular optics lab. 

Our hvac systems are upgraded to enable precision science every day of the year. Thanks to all involved in this project! 

The BEC lab gets new diode lasers that will allow us to engineer more exotic spin textures and pursue new ideas involving electromagnetically-induced transparency and quantum information. 

Prof. Bigelow attends the annual meeting of The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and Photographic Materials and The International Council of Museums Conservation Committee's Photographic Materials Working Group in New Zealand to discuss our research done in collaboration with the Eastman House on the nanotechnology of daguerrotypes. Learn more here.


The ultracold polar molecule lab's work on luminorefrigeration is featured in Optics and Photonics News' review of Optics in 2012.

The CAT group joins the rest of the AMO/QO community in congratulating this year's Nobel Prize recipients Serge Haroche and David Wineland! 

Azure Hansen gives a seminar at Rochester Institute of Technology's Photons After Dark on vortices in BECs.  

Our three undergraduate students present their work at the OSA and APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics conference's Symposium on Undergraduate Research here in Rochester. Read their abstracts here

Patrick Zabawa defends his PhD on absolute vibrational ground state ultracold NaCs! Congratulations! Best wishes for your post-doc in Jim Shaffer's lab at the University of Oklahoma on Rydberg atoms.

Amy Wakim defends her PhD thesis on Luminorefrigeration of NaCs! Congrats & good luck on the west coast!

Azure Hansen attends the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in the German Alps, and is selected to give a masterclass on cold atoms. Photo.

The BEC group shares some of its most recent work at the Cross Border Workshop on Laser Science in Montreal, Canada. 

At DAMOP, we enjoy the company of CAT group alumni, and the transit of Venus. Photo

Thanks to a generous gift from The Oliver S. & Jennie R. Donaldson Charitable Trust, the Physics Department's senior teaching lab will add a magneto-optical trap to its experiments. The CAT group is lending its expertise to get this project going, and we look forward to helping UR undergraduates learn about ultracold atoms. Learn more here

Suzanne Leslie defends her PhD on spin textures in spinor BECs -- congratulations! 

The BEC lab implements a new imagining technique developed by Justin T. Schultz.

The Institute of Optics updates its website, which showcases photos of two of our group members and some of our lasers. Photo.  

Recent PhD graduate Kevin Wright joins the faculty at Dartmouth College. Congratulations Professor Wright!

The BEC lab perfects new techniques to selectively populate different spin and vortex states.


The BEC lab builds and implements super-fast optical shutters made from hard drives based on the work of Rob Scholten at the University of Melbourne.

This summer's NSF-REU students present their work at the OSA and APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics conference's Symposium on Undergraduate Research in San Jose, California. Read their abstracts here.

Congratulations to Prof. Mishkat Bhattacharya on joining the physics faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology!

The molecule lab publishes a paper on spin-forbidden transitions in the Ω=1 state in collaboration with colleagues in Poland at the University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences. We also published another paper on photoassociation studies. 

A new book, Twisted Photons, includes some of the BEC lab's work on vortices. Edited by Juan P. Torres and Lluis Torner, it has a great chapter on 'Rotating Atoms with Light' by Kristian Helmerson and William D. Phillips.

Our newest dye laser arrives from the remote Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The molecule lab announces at DAMOP the creation of absolute ground state NaCs! Per tradition we shared a meal during the conference with past group members -- and dined with orbital angular momentum. Photo

The 13th Annual Cross Border Workshop on Laser Science is hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Optics here at UR. 

Prof. Bigelow speaks at the American Chemical Society's Symposium on Partnerships and New Analytical Methodologies at the Interface of Chemistry and Art about the collaboration between the George Eastman House and the University of Rochester on the nanoscience of 19th century daguerreotypes. Learn more here. 

The BEC lab gets a new single-photon-sensitive EM-CCD camera. 


Amy Wakim and the molecule lab are featured on the cover of Rochester Review magazine, as part of a story about UR's work involving the laser since its invention 50 years ago.

Our undergraduate students present their work at the OSA and APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics conference's Symposium on Undergraduate Research here in Rochester. Read their abstracts here.

The molecule lab publishes their latest paper in PRA, 'Near-dissocitation photoassociative production of deeply bound NaCs' with collaborators at Moscow State University and the University of Latvia.

Prof. Bigelow conveys the importance of the laser in a video for UofR's celebration of the laser.

The CAT group has a fantastic time hiking Vermont's Long Trail, and conquers the state's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield. Photos

Azure Hansen attends a workshop at L'Ecole de Physique des Houches in the French Alps on cold atom physics. 

Suzanne Leslie presents work from the BEC lab at the Complexity and Disorder at Ultralow Temperatures conference in Santa Fe.

The molecule lab shares some of our recent work at the Cross Borders Workshop on Laser Science in Waterloo Canada.

Chris Haimberger defends his PhD thesis. Congratulations! 

The BEC lab gets a new 10 watt fiber laser for the dipole trap.

Some of Prof. Bigelow's '2020 visions of the future' about lasers are featured in Nature.

The molecule lab gets a new FL3002 pulsed dye laser. 

Welcome to Mishkat Bhattacharya, our theory post-doc.


The BEC lab's latest paper on skyrmion spin textures is published in PRL.

Our undergraduates present at the Symposium on Undergraduate Research at the OSA and APS-DLS Frontiers in Optics conference in San Jose, CA. Read their abstracts here.

Our annual backpacking trip takes us to the Appalachian Trail and Vermont's Long Trail. Photos

Patrick Zabawa presents his recent work at an ultracold polar molecule conference in Kyoto, Japan. 

Suzanne Leslie presents our recent BEC work in Barcelona. 

Undergraduate researcher Kristi Beck is awarded a Churchill Scholarship to pursue research at Cambridge with Michael Kohl. 

The New York State Section of the American Physical Society meets here at U of R on 'Harnessing Photons: from Energy to Entanglement.' 

The molecule lab publishes in NJP their latest paper, 'Formation of ultracold, highly polar X1S+ NaCs molecules.'

The BEC lab's latest results on 'Sculpting the vortex state of a spinor BEC' are published in PRL.

Congratulations to Kevin Wright on his PhD defense! Best wishes for your post-doc at NIST in Bill Phillips' BEC lab.

The BEC lab upgrades the magnetic trapping coils.

The BEC lab contributes a paper to a special issue in Laser Physics, 'Raman fingerprints on a spinor BEC.'


Our undergraduates present at OSA/APS-DLS FiO's Symposium on Undergraduate Research. Read their abstracts here.

Amy Wakim is selected to attend the 58th Meeting of Nobel Laureates at Lindau, Germany. Read more.

The BEC lab publishes 'Raman coupling of Zeeman sublevels in an alkali-metal BEC' in PRA.

Michaela Tscherneck defends her PhD thesis and is off to Willamette University in Oregon. Congratulations! 

Congratulations to Jan Kleinert for defending his PhD thesis on the TWIST trap!

Our latest theory paper is published in PRL, 'Phases of Atom-Molecule Vortex Matter,' in collaboration with a former Eberly student now at Korea University.

The BEC lab's paper on 'Optical control of the internal and external angular momentum of a BEC' is published in PRA

The BEC lab buys a new timing system. 


Masa Takahashi from Masahito Ueda's group at Okayama University in Japan visits for a few weeks. We discuss how his theory work on spin textures in Bose-Einstein condensates can be applied to our lab. 

Our undergraduate students present their work at FiO's Symposium on Undergraduate Research. Read their abstracts here.

The molecule lab publishes in PRL on their Thin-WIre electroStatic Trap. Read a UR press release about the experiment here.

The annual backpacking trip in the Adirondacks is complicated by beavers. Photo

Suzanne Leslie attends a workshop on BECs in Brasilia, Brazil. 

Sungjong Woo defends his PhD thesis, 'Dynamics of rotating BEC with vortices.' Congratulations!

The CAT group attends the Ninth Rochester Conference on Coherence and Quantum Optics and the International Conference on Quantum Information. Read more here.

Our experimentalist-turned-theorist, Michaela Tscherneck, publishes in PRA a paper on 'Efficient coherent population transfer between the a3S and the X1S states of 39K85Rb.'

Our Fearless Leader is elected Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.