The realization of the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) in 1995 has transformed traditional atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics, i.e. collisions and spectroscopy, to its modern form that has been revolutionizing experimental concepts and shedding light on many long unsolved physical problems. Ever since we have evidenced that the AMO theory has been playing an indispensable role in gaining remarkable level of controls over the quantum world. The messages it carried well sound across all fields of experimental physics by the routes of ultra-sensitive and most precision measurements the world could possibly offer.
In the past 15 years, 11 physicists from AMO discipline alone have been awarded the Nobel prizes. Whilst several milestones were carefully placed along those paths of honor, quantum measurements that “realize the impossible” have made to the Physics World's annual list of top breakthroughs for “four years in a row” since 2009. Such trend would go on to corroborate the brilliant quantum era we are all in. Within the research field that coherent lights imitate eyes and hands so humans can see and manipulate individual atoms at a degree never before imagined, that the future of mankind acutely depends on how well we do control the quantum world is unquestionable.
Besides the principal commitment to the education, the Thailand Center of Excellence in Physics (ThEP) has realized recent significant developments in the AMO science and anticipated that the frontier fundamental researches therein would have shortly put our industrial inventions forefront and furnished the desired economic self-reliance. As of today our diligent researches are spanning from fundamental investigation on neutral-atom-based quantum computing to quantum simulations using Rydberg atoms for astronomical phenomena.
In the past, a mechanical analogue computer as large as the size of a small classroom was used to carry out complex scientific calculations. The speed of its single mathematical operation is no more than a few times a second. Today, all the operations are outperformed by a small handheld device in terms of both speed and power consumption. The key to the handheld’s efficiency lies in the miniaturization of a unit accounted for the mathematical operations, a logic gate. In modern devices, the size of the logic gates is on the order of tens of nanometer. Likely, the size of a logic gate will commonly be a single ion or a single neutral atom in the near future. At this level, not only the gate gain efficiency from miniaturization, fundamentally quantum mechanics can boost a significant leap in computing efficiency for a specific type of problems compared to its classical counterpart. For our experiment, we focus on constructing a quantum logic gate via quantum superposition of electronic and vibrational states of neutral atoms in a one dimensional periodic optical potential formed by a standing wave of laser light.
Single Atoms Trapping (animation)