Adjunct Professor (Graduate Program)
Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Graduate Program Appointment
Adjunct Member: With approval, eligible to co-supervise M.Sc. or Ph.D.
Single atom spectroscopy; Laser cooling and ion trapping; High-precision measurements; Ultra-stable lasers; Atomic frequency standards; Tests of precision physics and relativity; Laser wavelength references; Absolute frequency measurement.
In the last few years, significant advances in the trapping and manipulation of atomic particles have led to the routine storage and observation of single isolated atoms in the form of an ion suspended in an electrodynamic trapping field under ultra-high vacuum conditions. Using the kinetic effects of laser light, one can cool such a particle to the milliKelvin level achieving an isolated atomic system at rest and essentially decoupled from external perturbation. Together with recent developments in creating ultrapure, monochromatic radiation from laser sources, a new form of frequency standard based on a laser stabilized on the isolated ion can be created, ushering in a new level of accuracy in atomic physics and precision measurement. My team at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa has advanced and harnessed these exciting new technologies and have aided in creating the world's first atomic optical frequency standard based on a single, trapped ion. We have developed and employ techniques in counting optical cycles with Hz level precision up to frequencies of 500 THz and have used this technology to link the Cs atomic clock standard with the single ion reference. Based on worldwide efforts, lasers stabilized on atomic systems are now performing at accuracies beyond our present definition of the unit second and promise to enable tests of such parameters as the time variation of fundamental constants and measurements of the distortion of time by the earth’s gravitational field. We continue to employ diverse laser technologies of diode, fibre, and optically pumped solid-state lasers to extend precision frequency measurement across the optical spectrum. In this environment, experiments are performed using state-of-the-art techniques in laser physics, electro-optics, precision frequency measurement, and data acquisition. The skills obtained with such a background lay a firm basis for competence in precision metrology, laser techniques, modern optics, and high resolution atomic physics.