Quantum Transport in Periodic Potentials

Optical lattices are crystals made of light periodic potentials that confine ultracold atoms. Atoms in optical lattices are almost perfect analogies of electrons trapped in crystals, but our optical lattices are defect and impurity free, unlike real world solid-state materials. We will use coherent atoms from a Bose-Einstein condensate to study the wave-like properties of atoms trapped in these potentials, adding in controlled amounts of disorder. We can study exotic states of matter such as a “Bose glass”, phase transitions that rely on the graininess of quantum mechanics rather than thermal fluctuations, and the question of just why the world seems so classical when we believe quantum mechanics is the correct microscopic description.


We have achieved Bose Einstein condensation in a Ioffe-Pritchard magnetic trap based on a design from the Schmeidmayer group, and are working towards loading atoms into optical lattices.

We also continue to collaborate with the NIST Laser Cooling and Trapping Group.


Recent Publications:




Zhao-Yuan Ma, D. Phil (zyma@umd.edu)


B.A., Peking University, Beijing, China, Distinction Graduated


D.Phil, Atomic and Laser Physics Department, University of Oxford, UK


Curriculum Vitae



Graduate Students:


Matthew Beeler (beeler@umd.edu)


B.S. in Physics and Math, Miami University (Ohio)


Interests:  Music, Computers, Ninjas, Food


Emily Edwards (eedwards@umd.edu)


B.S. in Physics and Chemistry, Appalachian State University


Interests:  Cello, Traveling