Welcome to the Thompson Lab!

We are an atomic physics, nanophotonics and quantum optics research group in the department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. Our research focuses on isolating individual atoms and ions and engineering strong interactions between them using photons confined to nanoscale optical structures. With these systems, we pursue applications ranging from quantum technologies and devices to studies of few- and many-body physics.

News and Events

Circular Rydberg Atoms

A new paper by Sam Cohen and Jeff describes an approach to quantum computing/simulation with circular Rydberg atoms in optical tweezers! These atoms can have lifetimes exceeding 20 seconds in the right environment, opening new directions for extremely coherent and high fidelity operations. There are openings for students and postdocs to work on this project--please get in touch!

[Posted 3/25/21]

Scanning optical-microwave probe

Songtao et al. have posted a paper describing our new technical approach for coupling light and microwaves to our devices inside a cryostat!

[Posted 12/18/20]

[Update 2/1/21] Published in Optics Express!

Parallel, sub-wavelength spin addressing

Songtao, Mouktik et al. posted a paper describing parallel single-shot readout and coherent manipulation of up to six Erbium atoms with deep sub-wavelength spacing, using frequency-domain addressing. This is a major step towards realizing interacting rare earth ion arrays for quantum information processing and studies of many-body dynamics.

[Posted 6/2/20]

[Update 10/29/20] Published in Science!

Erbium single-shot spin readout

Mouktik et al. posted a paper describing QND, single-shot spin readout of a single Erbium ion. This is achieved using a novel technique, where selection rules from the atom-cavity coupling are used to introduce a cycling transition. The paper also measures spin T1 times as long as 12 seconds, and coherent manipulation of the spin with microwave fields.

[Posted 7/24/19]

[Update 3/30/20]

This work was published in Nature Comms., with a News & Views by Wrachtrup and Kolesov in Nature Physics!

Alkaline Earth Rydberg Atoms

Jack, Sam, Yijian, Shuo, Rohit and Alex posted the first paper on alkaline earth atoms in Rydberg states. In addition to performing some novel spectroscopy of the 3S1 series, they demonstrate a key advantage of this platform: trapping Rydberg states using the polarizability of the ion core.

[Posted 12/19]

A new host for rare earth ions

In collaboration with the groups of Nathalie de Leon, Steve Lyon and Bob Cava, Chris, Sacha and Paul have demonstrated in a new preprint that titanium dioxide (TiO2) looks like a promising host for Erbium ions! Implanted erbium ions are active with a high yield (at least 40%) and have an inhomogeneous optical linewidth comparable to or better than most traditional rare earth host crystals (420 MHz). TiO2 as a much lower abundance of nuclear spins than Y-based materials, and can in principle be further isotopically enriched.

[Update 12/2/19: published in Nano Letters!]

[Posted 9/15/19]


We are delighted to welcome a new postdoc on the Yb tweezer experiment, Alex Burgers!

[Posted 9/15/19]

New lab members

We are delighted to welcome two new graduate students to the lab: Salim Ourari (-> Erbium) and Shuo Ma (-> Ytterbium)!

[Posted 7/24/19]

Ytterbium atom arrays

Jack, Sam and Brandon posted a paper describing the first result of our atomic physics effort: creating large-scale arrays of laser-cooled Ytterbium atoms in optical tweezers!

[Update 1/3/19: This work was featured alongside Sr tweezer arrays in a recent Physics Viewpoint.]

[4/11/19: published in PRL; see also Nature News and Views by Mark Saffman]

[Posted 10/24/18]

New arrival

We are delighted to welcome a new postdoctoral fellow, Songtao Chen! Songtao is joining the rare earth ion effort.

[Posted 9/29/18]

First lab paper

Alan, Mouktik and Chris have submitted the group's first paper: "Isolating and enhancing the emission of single erbium ions using a silicon nanophotonic cavity"!

[Update: 6/18 -- appeared in print in PRL; also featured in Science]

[Posted 11/29/17]

Graduate student fellowships

Jack Wilson has been awarded an NSF graduate fellowship, and Chris Phenicie has been awarded and NDSEG graduate fellowship. Congratulations, Jack and Chris!

[Posted 4/27/17]

New group members; construction ends

We are delighted to welcome three new group members: Chris, Jack and Sam. Chris will join the rare earth ion team, while Jack and Sam will start a new project based on Yb Rydberg atoms in optical tweezers.

Also, at the beginning of the month, we moved into our newly renovated lab space. Come visit us in E-Quad C402!

[Posted 3/2/17]

Lab construction begins

Construction has finally started in E-Quad C402!

[Posted 9/21/2016]

Arrivals and departures

Welcome to postdoc Alan Dibos, who joined the lab in June 2016 and is working on cavity QED with rare earth ions.

Also, we were joined for the summer by undergraduate students Vignesh Gopal (UIUC) and Erik Wendt (Gettysburg). Vignesh and Erik were supported in part by the MIRTHE REU program.

[Posted 9/21/2016]

Mouktik Raha joins lab

Mouktik Raha has joined the Thompson lab as a graduate student. Mouktik received his BS and MS from IIT Kharagpur. He is working on the rare earth ion quantum optics project.

[Posted 2/22/2016]

Starting up!

February 1, 2016 - The lab opens its (metaphorical) doors in February, 2016. Non-metaphorical doors are still in progress. For the time being, you can find us at these coordinates: http://w3w.co/props.banana.sank (on the 3rd floor)

[Posted 2/22/2016]