Ultracold Plasmas

Plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe, ranging in temperature from 1000000 K in a pulsar to 300 K in the Earth’s ionosphere. We use ultracold atoms created with laser-cooling techniques and pulsed lasers to create the coldest neutral plasmas ever made, with temperatures as low as ~1 K. They tend to last for less than one millisecond, blown apart by the pressure of the electrons and the recombination of electrons and ions into highly excited (Rydberg) atoms. We are currently studying properties of these ultracold plasmas, including collective modes, plasma instabilities, Rydberg atom production, and magnetic field effects.


Graduate Students:


Robert Scott Fletcher (fletcher@umd.edu)


B.S. Physics and Math, Georgia Institute of Technology


Xianli Zhang


M.S. Physical Electronics,  Fudan Univ., China


Former Post-docs