The Ultra Cold Atoms Research Group was set up during 2008 as a new group within the School of Physics and Astronomy. The group is part of the Midlands Ultra Cold Atoms Research Centre (MUARC) together with the University of Nottingham.
The Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre exploits the unique properties of ultracold atom gases to drive the advancement of knowledge in fundamental quantum phenomena. The research at the University of Birmingham has a particular focus on optical lattice systems, which provide new interdisciplinary insights into important condensed matter phenomena like superconductivity and quantum phase transitions. MUARC explores the possibilities of quantum simulation with ultracold atom systems and promotes further developments towards quantum information or the controlled creation and destruction of molecules in quantum chemistry. An applied theme will be the development of quantum sensors for measurements of highest precision.
Quantum Simulation with mixed quantum gases in optical lattices
This project aims at the creation of mixed bosonic and fermionic quantum gases in optical lattices suitable for quantum simulation of fundamental systems, e.g. in condensed matter physics. Particular topics of interest are connections to Fermi-Hubbard physics and high-Tc superconductivity, strongly correlated and disorder-induced phases. This experiment will concentrate in 2D systems, where single site resolution can be achieved, both for manipulation and detection. Single site resolution will allow for a controlled manipulation of the lattice potential and thus e.g. the introduction of controlled disorder to the system which has been predicted to lead to new phases such as Bose-glasses. In a further step the detailed manipulation techniques implemented in this experiment shall be used to achieve controlled entanglement gate operations and thus extend quantum simulation to quantum computation. An additional area of interest is quantum chemistry - using the mixed system as an array of mini-chemical reactors for coherent creation of molecules. A goal will be to achieve a molecular gas in the lattice with dipolar interactions.
Strontium in an Optical Lattice as a Portable Frequency Reference
The advent of femtosecond comb systems as optical clockworks (Noble price 2005) has enabled optical frequencies to be used as a time standard. The higher frequencies of the transitions enable unprecedented accuracy which opens a whole new field of applications, form precision tests of fundamental physics to mineral exploration. This project aims at the realization of a mobile frequency standard, which would allow precision time comparison as well as relativistic geodesy with potential accuracies of only a few cm. This instrument could act as a prototype for future space missions aiming at fundamental tests or laser-ranging gravitational wave detection.