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News

Spectrum of hot methane

Spectrum of hot methane in astronomical objects using a comprehensive computed line list

A powerful new model to detect life on planets outside of our solar system, more accurately than ever before, has been developed by researchers from UCL Physics & Astronomy and the University of New South Wales. More...

Published: Jun 18, 2014 4:54:56 PM

Quantum Phase Transitions

"Like melting an entire iceberg with a hot poker" – UCL scientists explore the strange world of quantum phase transitions

“What a curious feeling,” says Alice in Lewis Carroll’s tale, as she shrinks to a fraction of her size, and everything around her suddenly looks totally unfamiliar. Scientists too have to get used to these curious feelings when they examine matter on tiny scales and at low temperatures: all the behaviour we are used to seeing around us is turned on its head. More...

Published: May 13, 2014 4:06:57 PM

Clover leaf by Scott Robinson on Flickr

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis

Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics, according to the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis published today in the journal Nature Communications. More...

Published: Jan 9, 2014 3:48:33 PM

Ultracold Gases

Prof Peter Barker
Dr Phil Jones
Prof Tania Monteiro
Prof Ferruccio Renzoni
Dr Gillian Peach
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Our research programmes in cold atoms and molecules are both theoretical and experimental and range from developing methods for cooling, trapping to utilising cold atoms for understanding quantum chaos and statistical physics. We also study ultracold Bose and Fermi gases and their interactions.

Cooling atoms and molecules: We are exploring new methods for creating cold atoms and molecules. This includes cavity cooling, optical Stark deceleration for the creation of slow cold molecules and sympathetic cooling of molecules with cold atoms . Cold atoms trapped in periodic potentials (optical lattices) can be used to mimic the random motions of systems in equilibrium with a thermal bath.  Directed (ratchet) motion and a Brownian motor has been realised using these systems (Barker , Jones, Renzoni).

Quantum dynamics and chaos:  We investigate the theory for quantum dynamics of systems subjected to time periodic driving. Quantum chaos using cold atoms is one area of interest: eg, new examples of quantum suppression of chaotic diffusion; new types of quantum chaotic ratchets; the stability of BECs in these regimes. The  possibilities for manipulation of phase transitions by cold  atoms in optical lattices are also studied (Monteiro, Jones).

Ultracold Bose and Fermi gases:  Many-particle descriptions of pairing via Feshbach resonances are studied, as well as the production and probing of exotic few-body molecules, and photoassociation using coherent control. (Kohler).

To learn more about our work please follow the links below: