Team Members
ZLab Team
Tanya Zelevinsky
Prof. Tanya Zelevinsky

Prof. Z graduated from MIT in physics and math, and received her physics PhD at Harvard University where her thesis work involved precise spectroscopy of helium atoms. She came to Columbia in 2008, after a few years of learning about optical lattice atomic clocks in Boulder, Colorado. She teaches various subjects such as mechanics, electromagnetism, and atomic physics, and her research interests involve precision measurements and quantum optics, particularly state-of-the-art optical spectroscopy with diatomic molecules.

Ivan Kozyryev
Ivan Kozyryev

Ivan grew up in a small town in Ukraine and subsequently studied physics and applied math at Yale University. Excited about "table-top" particle physics, as an undergraduate he worked on measuring the electron's electric dipole moment as part of the Harvard-Yale ACME Collaboration. For his applied math senior thesis he worked on bioinformatics of autoimmune diseases. As a PhD student at Harvard, Ivan demonstrated a novel method for trapping of molecular radicals using superconducting magnets. Intrigued by the prospects of direct laser cooling for molecules, he developed laser cooling and trapping methods for polyatomic molecules. At Columbia, he is applying his experience in molecular laser cooling to diatomic hydride molecules in order to diversify ultracold molecular species and potentially produce ultracold hydrogen samples for precision spectroscopy and ultracold chemistry.

Hendrik Bekker
Hendrik Bekker

Hendrik graduated from the University of Groningen after which he earned his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. During this time, he worked on uncovering the complex electronic structure of highly charged ions with transitions suitable for the development of extremely stable optical clocks. Some of these systems also feature a very high sensitivity to potential variations of fundamental constants. At Columbia, Hendrik continues to search for potential new physics using a vibrational molecular lattice clock based on ultracold diatomic strontium molecules. To this end, he works on investigating and controlling the systematic uncertainties as well as the limitations to attainable precision in order to harness the full potential of the molecular clock.

Konrad Wenz
Konrad Wenz

Konrad graduated from the University of Warsaw where he was interested in theoretical astrophysics, including black holes and dark matter. Besides astrophysics, he likes thinking about biophysics, data science, and table-top precision measurements. Konrad is a member of CENTREX (Cold Molecule Nuclear Time Reversal Experiment) which is a collaboration between Yale, Columbia, and University of Massachusetts. The experiment aims to achieve the highest sensitivity to the nuclear Schiff moment arising from a slight charge asymmetry in the nucleus, using diatomic polar molecules. An observation of this asymmetry would strongly point to new time-reversal symmetry violating particles beyond the Standard Model. Konrad is focusing on the optical systems and quantum manipulations of the molecules.

Rees McNally
Rees McNally

Rees graduated from the University of Colorado - Boulder in 2015. He became interested in science and engineering after visiting an arospace lab and getting involved in a satellite project, particulary collecting and processing data from the satellite. This was followed by other research projects, including one on the world's best atomic clock at JILA. As a graduate student at Columbia, Rees has received a National Science Foundation IGERT fellowship in optical sciences. Rees is focusing on generating a cryogenic beam of diatomic molecules, and demonstrating laser slowing and cooling properties with a new molecular species.

Kon Leung
Kon Leung

Before coming to Columbia, Kon completed his undergraduate studies at Imperial College London, where he was active within the Quantum Optics and Laser Science group. At ZLab, he is interested in developing high-precision lattice-clock spectroscopy of ultracold molecules and their applications to fundamental physics questions, such as whether there are deviations from Newtonian gravity at the nanometer length scale. He is working to improve the vibrational molecular clock by extending the coherence time of vibrational qubits in an optical lattice.

Mick Aitken
Mick Aitken

Mick grew up in northern Florida and attended the University of Florida. There, he worked on projects in gravitational astrophysics. After graduating, Mick went on to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where he continued in this field, working on interferometry noise for LISA, a future space-based gravitational wave detector. Now, as a PhD student at Columbia, Mick has transitioned from gravitational waves to cold molecules. He is excited about the optical challenges in cooling and controlling molecules, and the myriad applications that they pose for fundamental research. He has recently joined the Yale - Columbia - UMass CeNTREX project to develop quantum optical techniques for high-precision nuclear and particle physics.

Sebastian Vazquez-Carson
Sebastian Vazquez-Carson

Sebastian graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2017. As an undergraduate he participated in high-energy nuclear physics research. He developed a double event detection algorithm for the PHENIX experiment and designed collection optics for the hadronic calorimeter upgrade. The allure of testing fundamental physics in a small team on a completely home-built experiment motivated Sebastian to try AMO physics at Columbia. As he works toward direct laser cooling of diatomic hydride molecules to microkelvin temperatures, he is excited by the myriad of applications of this emerging technology.

Emily Tiberi
Emily Tiberi

Originally from Montréal, Emily graduated from Harvard University in 2018. As an undergraduate, she first became interested in AMO physics when her lab was building an erbium quantum gas microscope. At Columbia, Emily is still laser cooling atoms, but has transitioned to high-precision experiments with ultracold molecules. At Zlab, she works on a molecular lattice clock to improve the clock precision and coherence. She is especially excited about developing more precise quantum control of molecules and its implications for probing fundamental physics.

Name Affiliation Project(s)
Yuzhou Chai Zhejiang University Molecular lattice clock
Dr. Chih-Hsi Lee Columbia University Molecular lattice clock
Tianli Wang Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Laser cooling of molecules
Dr. Stan Kondov Columbia University Molecular lattice clock
Edita Bytyki Columbia University Experiment software
Aaron Liberman Columbia University Atom trapping and electronics
Joanna Cohen Columbia University Optics and mentoring
Chris Liedl Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Molecular lattice clock
Michel Sidemion Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts Cavendish balance
Moctar Fall Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts Cavendish balance
Dr. Geoffrey Iwata Columbia University Cryogenic molecular beam and cold molecule optical spectroscopy
Hannah Williams Imperial College London Laser cooling of molecules
Alex Sandomirsky Columbia University Electronics and high school student mentoring
Sam Quinn Columbia University Hands-on mentoring of high school students
Paul Pouyanne Ecole Normale Supérieure Thermal molecule production
Annie Block Columbia University Nested-trash-can oven
Tom Miller Columbia University Electronics
Dr. Mickey McDonald Columbia University Ultracold chemistry and molecules in optical lattices
Albert Law Columbia University Electrostatic guiding of polar molecules
Leïla Abbih Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan Molecular beam production and optimization
Dr. Bart McGuyer Columbia University Precision measurements with ultracold molecules
Dr. Marco Tarallo Columbia University Production and spectroscopy of cold molecules
Dr. Andrew Grier Columbia University Frequency combs for molecular spectroscopy
Fabian Sörensen Technische Universität Darmstadt Nonlinear optics
Florian Apfelbeck Ludwig-Maximilians University Ultracold molecule photodissociation
Damon Daw Columbia College Laser stabilization
Cole Rainey Columbia College Laser stabilization
Katérina Verteletsky Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan Molecular spectroscopy
Dr. André Loose Columbia University ATTA
Matthew Miecnikowski Columbia College Optical beam control
Noel Wan Columbia College Optics and electronics
Jiyoun (Jennifer) Ha Tenafly High School Visible optical beats
Dr. Chris Osborn Columbia University PhD thesis (2013)
Dr. Taehyun Yoon Columbia University PhD thesis (2013)
Omeed Maghzian Columbia College Experiment control software
Elijahu Ben-Michael Columbia College Molecule cooling; optics
Henry Du Hunter College High School Web design
Dr. Gael Reinaudi Columbia University Ultracold atom & molecule experiments
Dili Wang Columbia College Lasers and optics; undergraduate thesis
Clio Sleator Columbia College Experiment control software
Dr. Klejda Bega APS Blewett Scholar Laser setup and stabilization
Stéphane Bonnotte l'Institut d'Optique Thermal radiation and clocks
Camille Frapolli Ecole Normale Superieure de Cahcan Nonlinear optics
Paul Lintilhac Dartmouth College Optics; interferometry
Michael Rubin Columbia School of Engineering Magnetic field modeling
Jonathan Jove New Rochelle High School Experiment control electronics
Siqing Yu Columbia College Experiment control electronics
Raanan Cohen Columbia School of Engineering Experiment control electronics
Paul Mueller Columbia School of Engineering Laser cavity design
David Tam Columbia College Laser stabilization; temperature control
Nathan Smith Bard College Vibration measurements