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 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 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.
Chih-Hsi received his undergraduate physics degree from the National Taiwan University in 2013 and completed military service in 2014, shortly before coming to Columbia for his PhD studies. For a long time he had been interested in quantum optics and ultracold atom physics. At ZLab, after a brief training period by Bart McGuyer and Mickey McDonald, he quickly embarked on the strontum ultracold-molecule experiment on his own. This is no easy feat, given the need to tame a UHV system, a dozen separate (but phase-locked) lasers, and a frequency comb. Chih-Hsi's plans for the near future involve high-precision spectroscopy of the ground-state vibrational levels in spinless strontium molecules and its applications to possible new fundamental physics.
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 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.
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 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 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.
Tianli is finishing her undergraduate studies at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. At ZLab, she is working on new techniques for laser cooling molecules.