Past Event

Douglas Chalmers Lectureship by Niccolò Bigagli

November 16, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Philosophy Hall, 1150 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027 202A

Scaling up Quantum Gases: A Practical Introduction to Quantum Physics

Introducing some foundational concepts of quantum mechanics, Niccolò Bigagli will retrace the journey his lab made from building an experiment from an empty room to studying ultracold dipolar molecules, a central object of study in quantum physics. The laboratory is capable of cooling sodium and cesium (Na & Cs) atoms to ultracold temperatures (a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the coldest temperatures physically attainable) and trapping them in a confined region of space. These can then be assembled into NaCs molecules in a controlled manner. NaCs molecules present a complex internal quantum structure and long-distance interactions capable of accessing the most exotic phases of matter. Niccolò will start by going over how he and his collogues built a dual species experiment with laser cooled sodium and cesium, and achieved the simultaneous Bose-Einstein condensation, a fascinating object where matter’s wave properties become apparent. He will then detail how NaCs molecules are assembled and transferred to their lowest available energy level. Finally, Niccolò will conclude by discussing his team’s work on the microwave shielding of NaCs molecules. These microwave studies showcase the complexity of elastic and inelastic interactions of dipolar molecules, perhaps even pointing to how molecular bound states could be assembled to push the state of the art of the field even further.

Niccolò Bigagli is currently a seventh-year graduate student in the Will Lab in the Physics Department at Columbia University. Their work focuses on developing an understanding of the quantum mechanical rules governing the behavior of the fundamental constituents of matter: atoms and molecules. Niccolò aims to gain enough insights into the building blocks of the world to attain as much control over them as physically allowed. This enables the exploration of many-body physics in the most exotic conditions of quantum mechanics, exhibiting fascinating and unexpected behaviors. Parallel to advancing the understanding of fundamental physics, the quantum control gained on atoms and molecules has the potential to unlock completely novel quantum-based technology in the areas of quantum simulation and quantum information.

Register to attend via Zoom

Contact Information

Emeritus Professors in Columbia (EPIC)
(212) 854-8083