Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Positron Physics


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Session 2008-09

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First Term

Second Term 2009

DateSpeaker Title

08 January


Ivette SchullerTechnical University of BerlinEntanglement in non-inertial frames and curved spacetime
14 JanuaryHendrik UlbrichtUniversity of SouthamptonMolecule interferometry and metrology applications
21 JanuaryNo SeminarNo seminarAMOPP Open Day
11 FebruaryTobias OsborneRoyal HollowayInformation propagation through quantum spin systems
18 FebruaryNo SeminarNo Seminar

Physics Colloquium

Massey Lecture Theater, 4pm

Léon Sanche (University of Sherbrooke)


25 FebruaryFlorian MarquardtUniversity of MunichOptomechanics
4 March

David Marcus Appleby

Cancelled due to speaker's illness

Queen Mary CollegeGod, dice and other matters: idiosyncratic remarks on quantum foundations
11 MarchAndrew HoRoyal HollowayQuantum Simulation of the Hubbard Model: The Attractive Route
 18 MarchSusan PerkinUniversity College LondonSticky, charged, and slippery: Films of water and ionic liquids, and the molecular basis of lubrication

 25 March

Exceptionally at 15:30

Maurizio MussoUniversity of SalzburgRaman spectroscopy of molecular liquids and of biomaterials
 1 AprilKen TaylorQueen's University BelfastAtoms and small molecules exposed to intense light

 15 April

Exceptionally in E7

Alan Aspuru-GuzikHarvard UniversityTime-dependent current density functional theory for open quantum systems

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Ivette Schuller

Technical University of Berlin

Abstract: The insight that the world is fundamentally quantum mechanical inspired the development of quantum information theory. However, the world is not only quantum but also relativistic, and indeed many implementations of quantum information tasks involve truly relativistic systems. In this talk I consider relativistic effects on entanglement in flat and curved spacetimes. I will emphasize the qualitative differences to a non-relativistic treatment, and demonstrate that a thorough understanding of quantum information theory requires taking relativity into account. The exploitation of such relativistic effects will likely play an increasing role in the future development of quantum information theory. The relevance of these results extends beyond pure quantum information theory, and applications to foundational questions in cosmology and black hole physics will be presented.

Hendrik Ulbricht

University of Southampton

Abstract: Matter wave interferometry experiments with very massive molecules has the potential to test fundamental physics as the quantum to classical transition. But the very same experimental setup can also be used to investigate molecular porperties as for instance static and dynamic polarizabilities, electric dipole moments, absoprtion cross sections and van der Waals interaction parameter from collision cross sections to an high degree of precision - as well as for molecular and nanoparticle beam sorting. I will report on the recent status of molecule interfernce with Talbot-Lau and Kapitz-Dirac-Talbot-Lau interferometers [Gerlich et al., Nature Physics 3, 711 - 715 (2007)] with organic molecules of masses of up to 2500 amu and then extend on the various metrology opportunities [Gerlich et al., Angw. Chem. 47, 6195-6198 (2008)]. Particle beam manipulation techniques as for the slowing and cooling of massive molecules are central to both probing quantum limits and molecule metrology and I will also discuss those.

Tobias Osborne

Royal Holloway

Abstract: In 1972 Lieb and Robinson proved a bound on the velocity of propagation of correlations through an interacting spin system. This bound, when phrased in slightly more modern terms, says that all information, both classical and quantum, is exponentially attenuated outside of a light cone with an effective speed of light determined by the lattice structure. In this talk I will discuss the state of the art of Lieb-Robinson type bounds, including systems with static and dynamical disorder. It turns out that, when disorder is present, the Lieb-Robinson bound can be replaced by a stronger bound. The bounds that arise depend on the nature and strength of the disorder and at least three types of behaviour can be identified: information propagates either ballistically, diffusively, or is  strongly localised. Implications for fault tolerance in quantum computers will be sketched.

Physics Colloquium:  Léon Sanche

Groupe en Sciences des Radiations, Faculté de médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke (Québec)


Electrons with energies in the range 0-30 eV can induce at interfaces and within condensed matter specific reactions which are of relevance to applied fields such as nanolithography, dielectric aging, radiation waste management, radiation processing, astrobiology, planetary and atmospheric chemistry, surface photochemistry, radiobiology, radiotherapy and ballistic electronics. The action of low energy electrons (LEEs) in materials of relevance to five of these fields has been investigated with model systems consisting of pure or doped thin molecular films. The target film is deposited on a metal or semi-conductor substrate and bombarded by a LEE beam (0-30 eV) under ultra high vacuum (UHV) conditions. Neutral fragments and ions emanating from these films are analysed by mass spectrometry. The products remaining in the films are analyzed in situ by X-ray photoelectron and electron energy loss spectroscopies; they can also be removed from the UHV system and analyzed by HPLC and LC/MS. By comparing the results of the theory and different experiments, it is possible to determine fundamental mechanisms that are involved in the chemical reactions induced by LEEs. Such mechanisms involve (1) the formation of transient anions which play a dominant role in the fragmentation of all molecules investigated; (2) dipolar dissociation which produces an anion and a cation and (3) reactive scattering, which induces non-thermal reactions. The transient anions fragment the parent molecules by decaying into dissociative electronically excited states or by dissociating into a stable anion and a neutral radical. These fragments usually initiate other reactions with nearby molecules, causing further chemical damage. The damage caused by transient anions is dependent on the molecular environment

Andrew Ho

Royal Holloway

Abstract: We study the conditions under which, using a canonical transformation, the phases sought after for the repulsive Hubbard model, namely a Mott insulator in the paramagnetic and anti- ferromagnetic phases, and a putative d-wave superfluid can be deduced from observations in an optical lattice loaded with a spin-imbalanced ultra-cold Fermi gas with attractive interactions, thus realizing the attractive Hubbard model. We argue that the Mott insulator and antiferromagnetic phase of the repulsive Hubbard model are easier to observe in the attractive Hubbard mode as a band insulator of Cooper pairs and superfluid phase, respectively. The putative d-wave superfluid phase of the repulsive Hubbard model doped away from half-filling is related to a d-wave antiferromagnetic phase for the attractive Hubbard model. We discuss the advantages of this approach to 'quantum simulate' the Hubbard model in an optical lattice over the simulation of the doped Hubbard model in the repulsive regime.

Florian Marquardt

University of Munich

Abstract: In this talk I will review recent progress in the physics of the interaction between radiation and mechanical motion. The paradigmatic system in this field of 'optomechanics' consists of an optical cavity with a movable mirror attached to a cantilever. I will discuss how the coupled dynamics of the light field inside the cavity and the cantilever motion gives rise to a series of interesting effects. On the level of classical dynamics, I will present the theory of nonlinear oscillations and the corresponding attractor diagram. Furthermore, it is possible to cool the cantilever by irradiating the cavity with a red-detuned laser beam. I will present the quantum theory of optomechanical cooling and discuss the prospects for reaching the ground state of the cantilever's center-of-mass motion. Among the interesting opportunities that open up in the quantum regime, I discuss the quantum nonlinear dynamics of an optomechanical system and the detection of quantum jumps.

Susan Perkin

University College London

Abstract: Over recent years significant progress has been made in understanding the molecular basis of lubrication by hydrocarbon liquids, aqueous liquids, and soft materials. I will begin by introducing this field and the apparatus we use to study shear forces with molecular resolution in film thickness: the 'surface force balance' (SFB), which is currently being constructed in UCL. I will then present high-resolution measurements of the friction force between two atomically smooth mica plates separated by films of water and of ionic liquids, for film thickness down to a single molecular diameter. Our recent experiments using ionic liquids, in particular, are helping us to understand the role of molecular characteristics such as charge and hydrophobicity on friction and lubrication. We are working towards a molecular-level understanding of the mechanisms of lubrication, which will lead to custom design of molecular lubricants for individual applications in nanotechnology, mechanics and micro-mechanics.

Maurizio Musso

Division of Physics and Biophysics, Department of Materials Engineering and Physics,  University of Salzburg

Abstract:  Raman spectroscopy is a spectroscopic technique capable to deliver information similar, but in some aspects complementary, to that obtained from infrared absorption spectroscopy on the molecular structure and dynamics in molecular systems. The Raman scattering signal is the result of the interaction between the electric field of the monochromatic electromagnetic wave incident on the sample under study and the polarizability of the electron shell of the bonded atoms, which gets modulated by their nuclear motion (vibrations and rotations). The thermodynamic state of the sample (temperature, pressure, concentration) influences the intra- and intermolecular vibrational couplings, and so the spectral details observed.

Raman spectroscopy has been since the invention of the laser a well-established research tool concerning molecular structure and dynamics in many fields of condensed matter physics and chemistry, and in the last two decades it has found increasing relevance in the chemical analysis of macroscopic and microscopic samples in the field of materials and life sciences. I will present some of my research activity related on the one hand to intermolecular interactions and molecular liquid structure, and on the other hand on the carotenoids content of selected biomaterials.

Ken Taylor

Queen's University Belfast

Abstract: Over the past 15 years we have developed methods in Belfast for solving accurately the time-dependent Schroedinger equation (TDSE) for few electron atoms and molecules in intense laser fields (Comp Phys Commun 114 1 (1998)). Application of these methods has led to significant discoveries in advance of laboratory experiment (e.g.  Phys Rev Lett 96 133001 (2006)). Very recently (Phys Rev A 78 063420 (2008)) these methods have been extended and combined with R-matrix concepts allowing their application to the TDSE of a general multi-electron atom or molecule.  The talk will review the methods and present results for intense light ranging from x-ray wavelengths right through to the infra-red.

Alan Aspuru-Guzik

Harvard University

Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss the one-to-one correspondence between vector potentials and particle and current densities in the context of master equations with arbitrary memory kernels, therefore extending Time-Dependent Current-Density Functional Theory (TD-CDFT) to the domain of generalized many-body open quantum systems. I will describe  numerical tests of our proposed scheme with a model system, and several considerations for the future development of functionals are indicated. Our results formalize the possibility of practicing TD-CDFT in OQS, hence expanding the applicability of the theory to non-Hamiltonian evolutions. I will briefly discuss the relevance of such theories for application domains such as excitonic energy transfer.


First Term 2008

DateSpeaker Title

16 September


Charles CreffieldInstituto de Ciencias de Materiales de MadridQuantum control of cold bosonic atoms using periodic driving fields
1 OctoberChristopher HooleyUniversity of St AndrewsScaling and criticality in optical lattice systems: the influence of the trapping potential
8 OctoberNo Seminar (Bragg Lecture)No seminar(Bragg Lecture)Bragg Lecture:  Professor Sumio Iijima (Meijo University, Japan), The 17 year old carbon nanotubes
Location: Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre, 25 Gordon Street
15 OctoberAgapi EmmanouilidouUniversity of MassachussetsQuasiclassical tools for exploring how electrons escape in multi-electron atoms during their ionization by single photon absorption or by strong laser fields

21 October


Sean BarrettImperial College LondonPhase transitions in the computational power of a many-body system
29 OctoberFrancesca BalettoKing's College LondonWater clusters in atmosphere
5 NovemberDmitry ShalashilinUniversity of LeedsQuantum simulations with Coupled Coherent States. From vibrational dynamics to electron dynamics in strong laser field
12 NovemberKai DieckmannLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichUltracold Heteronuclear Fermi-Fermi Molecules
 19 NovemberBaowen LiNational University of SingaporeComputation with phonons/heat
 26 November Pieter Kok University of Sheffield Optical quantum computing with photonic and matter qubits
 03 DecemberSimon Brawleystudent seminar (UCL) Positronium collisions with atoms and molecules

 10 December

(exceptionally from 15:00 to 16:00) 

 Madalin Guta University of NottinghamLocal asymptotic normality in quantum statistics
 17 DecemberAndrey A. Vigasin Russian Academy of SciencesInfrared spectroscopy of the OH stretching bands in small water clusters

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Third Term 2008

DateSpeaker Title

10 April


Jean-Claude GarreauUniversité des Sciences et Technologies de LilleExperimental observation of an Anderson-type phase-transition with
laser-cooled atoms

6 May


Anna SanperaUniversidad Autonoma, BarcelonaWitnessing magnetic order of strongly correlated systems
14 MayJeremy HutsonUniversity of DurhamControlling collisions of ultracold molecules
28 MaySergey SavelievLoughborough UniversityControlling the motion of interacting small particles far from equilibrium
11 JuneDieter BauerMax-Planck Institut fuer Kernphysik, Heidelberg, GermanyFew and many electron systems in intense laser fields --- a time-dependent density functional theory perspective
18 JuneIgor PtashnikDepartment of Meteorology,
University of Reading
Recent investigations of the water vapour continuum absorption
25 JuneMartin Brown/Hemal VarambhiaUniversity College LondonNumerical simulations of cold atom ratchets
/Low-Energy Electron Scattering by Astrophysically Important Molecules, and Quantemol
2 JulyTom Boness/Alex Harvey University College LondonDynamics of a Periodically Kicked Heisenberg Chain/Electron re-scattering in aligned molecules using the R-matrix method

8 July


G S AgarwalOklahoma State UniversityQuantum Imaging beyond Rayleigh Resolution

 11 July


F.A. GianturcoUniversity of RomeCollisional dynamics at ultralow energies: controlling efficiency by changes in potentials and initial internal states

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Second Term 2008

DateSpeaker Title
9 JanFrançoise Masnou-SeeuwsLaboratoire Aimé Cotton,  Orsay, France Prospects for formation of stable ultracold molecules via photoassociation with chirped laser pulses
16 JanWitold ChalupczakNational Physical LaboratoryAtomic fountain - clock vs. measurement tool
23 JanJordi Mur PetitAMOPP SeminarUnderstanding and controlling spin dynamics in spinor condensates
30 JanDaniel SegalImperial College LondonTwo-ion Coulomb crystals of Ca+ in a Penning trap
06 FebStefan ScheelImperial College LondonQED in dielectrics --- what's all the (quantum) noise about?
13 FebBen SauerImperial College LondonTesting Time Reversal Symmetry
20 FebDieter BauerMax-Planck Institut fuer Kernphysik, Heidelberg, GermanyFew and many electron systems in intense laser fields --- a
time-dependent density functional theory perspective
27 FebRobert PotvliegeUniversity of DurhamAbove-threshold ionization in intense laser fields: from few-cycle pulses to the
long pulse limit
5 MarJames WaltersQueen's University, BelfastCoincidence Studies with Matter and Antimatter
12 MarKai BongsUniversity of Birmingham/Universität Hamburg, GermanyDark and dark-bright
solitons in matter waves
19 MarYuri OvchinnikovNational Physical LaboratoryLaser cooled sources of slow atoms

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First Term 2007

DateSpeaker Title
3 Oct Stefan WillitschDept of Chemistry, UCL Ion-molecule chemical reactions at very low temperature
10 OctWinfried Hensinger Sussex UniversityArchitectures for ion quantum technology 
16 Oct (Tuesday) 3 pm in E7Alexandra Olaya Castro Oxford University Quantum interference, entanglement, and the efficiency of excitation transfer in light-harvesting systems
17 Oct*Don EiglerIBM Almaden Research CenterW H Bragg Lecture: The small frontier
24 OctJacob Dunningham Leeds University Nonlocality of a single partcle
31 OctMatt JonesDurham University Ultracold Rydberg and plasma physics with strontium atoms 
7 NovWeifeng YangShanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, ChinaPhase dependence of ultrafast multiphoton processes in polar molecule media
14 Nov**Jan Michael RostMPI Dresden Massey Lecture:  From ultracold to ultrafast: matter under extreme conditions
21 NovDavid Andrews UEA Moving heaven and earth: new interactions of laser light
27 Nov (Tuesday) 4 pm in E1Stephen J BuckmanCentre for Antimatter-Matter Studies (ANU) Low Energy Lepton Interactions - Electron and Positron Interactions
28 NovGrant RitchieOxford University Laser studies of chemical dynamics
5 DecAMOPP Open Day  
12 DecRoy NewellAMOPP Research seminar 

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Third Term 2007

DateSpeaker Title
25 AprilBen WhitakerUniversity of LeedsProbing and controlling the electronically excited states of molecules
2 MayLorenzo Campos VenutiINFN, BolognaQubit Teleportation and Transfer based on Long-Distance Entanglement in Spin Chains
9 MayGabriela Halmova AMOPP GroupR-matrix calculations of electron-molecule collisions with C2 and C2-
 Ralf GommersAMOPP GroupTransport and Symmetry in Cold Atom Ratchets
11 May (FRIDAY, 12 pm in A1)Oleg Boiarkine EPF Lausanne Overtone spectroscopy of water molecules above and below dissociation 
16 May Dan Murtagh AMOPP GroupExcited state positronium formation from helium and argon
 Peter Douglas AMOPP GroupProgress towards laser cooling and trapping of single atoms
23 May Mischa Stocklin AMOPP GroupQuantum chaos and the double-delta-kicked rotor
 Chris Hadley AMOPP GroupSupersinglets and entanglement in spin chains
30 MayBruno SilvaAMOPP GroupTheoretical spectroscopy of H3+ and D2H+ at dissociation
 Josie BealeAMOPP Group Positronium fragmentation in collision with He and Xe
6 June (ROOM MATH 500)Joe WoodAMOPP GroupMolecular wavepacket revivals in fast quantum systems
13 July (FRIDAY, 11 AM in E1)Joan Marler Lawrence University High resolution positron scattering from atoms and molecules
18 July (4 PM in A1)Arul Lakshminarayan Dresden University The impact of quantum chaos on entanglement

1 Aug

(4 PM in E7)

Albert Stolow Steacie Institute of Molecular Sciences, NRC CanadaPolyatomic molecules in laser fields: non-adiabatic dynamics, quantum control, strong field physics
22 AugustChristoph BruderUniversity of BaselNoise and current correlations in electronic systems
17 September (Monday, 11am in E1)Danica Cvejanovic University of Western Australia Probing electron correlations and angular momentum effects by electron scattering from zinc atoms 

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Second Term 2007

DateSpeaker  Title
10 JanAidan ArnoldUniversity of Strathclyde Going around the bend with Bose-Einstein condensates 
17 JanEd GraceImperial College Corkscrew beams 
24 JanRuediger Schack Royal Holloway Quantum random numbers
31 JanSteve Meech UEA Lighting and rewiring the green fluorescent protein 
7 FebTomaz ProsenUniversity of Ljubljana Quantum chaos in many body systems: transport and efficiency of computer simulations 
21 FebMike Tarbutt Imperial College Cooling and decelerating polar molecules 
28 FebTim Freegarde University of Southampton Cooling atoms and molecules using light 
7 MarGiovanna Morigi University of Barcelona  
14 MarAlexander Dorn MPI, Heidelberg Studies of electron-impact induced ionization of atoms and molecules using multi-particle imaging techniques 

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First Term 2006

Date Speaker  Title
4 Sep Raul Barrachina Centro Atomico Baraloche The most beautiful experiment in Physics.... 
27 Sep Vittorio Giovannetti Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa Entanglement and statistics in Hong-Ou-Mandel interferometry 
4 Oct Yuri Ovchinnikov National Physical Laboratory, Teddington Towards integrated atom optics based on optical dipole traps 
11 Oct Jan Arlt IQ, Hannover Production and manipulation of quantum degenerate mixtures: Controlling Potassium with Rubidium 
18 Oct Duncan O'Dell Imperial College Atomic Rainbow Caustics: The Application of Catastrophe Theory to Atom Optics 
20 OctoberIgor BrayMurdoch University, PerthNew positron-atomic hydrogen results
25 Oct Wojciech Gawlik Jagiellonian University, Krakow Nonlinear spectroscopy of cold atoms 
1 Nov Carla Faria City University Laser induced non-sequential double and multiple ionization: electron-electron dynamics, absolute-phase diagnosis and attosecond thermalization 
8 Nov David Moncton MIT Bragg Lecture 
15 Nov Paul Campbell University of Dundee Postponed
22 Nov Jochen Arlt University of Reading Applications of optical tweezers in biology and soft matter physics 
29 Nov Daniel Burgarth AMOPP Group  
6 Dec AMOPP Open Day   

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Third Term 2006

DateSpeaker  Title
26 AprJustin Molloy NIMR Using optical techniques to study single molecules in vitro and in living cells
10 MayIan Ford UCLThe fluctuation theorem and its dissipation functional: is this a proof of the second law?
17 May Natasha DossAMOPP Group Calculated final state probability distributions for T2 beta decay measurements
24 MayChiara Piccarreta AMOPP Group Calculation of resonance effects in low-energy electron-water collisions
31 MaySimon Gardiner Durham University Matter-wave soliton collisions in BEC
6 JuneGiuseppe Smirne Oxford University Dynamic manipulation of Bose-Einstein condensates with a spatial light modulator
28 JuneMurtadha Khakoo California State University, FullertonLow energy electron impact excitation of molecular nitrogen - Rydberg-valence interactions

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Second term 2006

DateSpeaker Title
11 JanSvante Jonsell University of Umea Antihydrogen-atom scattering at low temperatures 
25 JanAMOPP Open Day   
1 FebViv Kendon Leeds University Complementarity in quantum walks 
8 FebPeter Barker Heriot-Watt University Creating slow cold molecules with pulsed optical fields 
15 FebBob Barber UCL BT2 - a high accuracy computed water line list for astronomers (and others) 
22 FebChristian Beck QMUL Chaotic scalar fields as models for dark energy 
1 MarSpreadbury Lecture   
15 Mar Charles Adams Durham University Cold atoms in a quasi-electrostatic lattice 
22 Mar Sile Nic Chormaic Cork Institute of Technology Characterisation of microspherical lasers and their uses in quantum optics 

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First Term 2005

Date Speaker  Title
16 Sep Peter Horak ORC, Southampton Micro-optics for atom chips 
28 Sep Gordon Robb University of Strathclyde Collective scattering of light by cold atoms 
5 Oct Leonardo Spanu ISAS, Trieste Correlation effects in antiferromagnetic molecular rings 
12 Oct Stepheh Webster National Physical Laboratory, Teddington Single ion optical clock 
19 Oct Simon Cornish University of Durham Quantum degenerate Bose mixtures and BEC with tunable interactions: experiments at Durham 
26 Oct Steve Jones Massey Lecture Did Adam meet Eve? - the view from the genes 
28 Oct Igor Bray Murdoch University, Perth Electron and positron collisions with atoms 
2 Nov Rob Bastin AMOPP Group The O II Spectrum in low density nebulae 
9 Nov Onofrio Marago IPCF-CNR, Messina Fabrication of gallium nanostructures using laser-cooled atoms 
16 Nov Massimo Mella University of Cardiff The quantum Monte Carlo method adapted to positron physics 
23 Nov Jens-Als Nielsen Bragg Lecture X-Ray synchrotron radiation - glimpses from the past and of the future 
7 Dec Patrik Ohberg University of Strathclyde Effective magnetic fields in neutral quantum gases 
9 Dec James Stirling Departmental Colloquium Quantum Chromodynamics and High-Energy Colliders: Fundamental Physics from Non-fundamental Particles 
14 Dec Sam Morgan Lehman BrosAn introduction to credit derivatives