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Quantum Optics, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Research

At Texas A&M, the overall area of Quantum Optics, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics encompasses an unusually rich variety of topics, pursued by a number of active teams let by faculty members (Alexey Belyanin, Lewis Ford, Ed Fry, Dudley Herschbach, George Kattawar, Leonid Keldysh, Olga Kocharovskaya, Vitaly Kocharovsky, David Lee, Gerhard Paulus, John Reading, Hans Schuessler, Marlan Scully, Alexei Sokolov, George Welch, Aleksei Zheltikov, Suhail Zubairy).

The basis of this extremely successful research program is the close collaboration among these faculty, their teams, and the connection between theory and experiment which go hand in hand. This experiment-theory connection is reflected in the fact that most of the theoretical physicists in the group (Belyanin, Kattawar, Kocharovskaya, Kocharovsky, Scully, Zubairy) maintain vigorous experimental programs or closely collaborate with the experimentalists (Fry, Lee, Paulus, Schuessler, Sokolov, Welch, Zheltikov). This unique situation has enabled the faculty members to build a very visible, well-funded research program. Some examples of the highly productive synergism are: a diverse program in femtosecond and attosecond physics, experiments on the foundations of quantum mechanics, non-linear atomic and molecular spectroscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy for chemical/bio sensing, quantum dot solar energy research, quantum searching, sub-wavelength lithography and microscopy, quantum and nonlinear optics of semiconductor nanostructures -- to name a few.

Our Quantum Optics group serves as a kernel to a broader, university-wide, Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, led by Marlan Scully. The Institute features several strongly overlapping areas of study (Quantum Bioscience, Quantum Nanoscience, Quantum Engineering, Quantum Philosophy), with Quantum Optics and Photonics providing the common denominator. This campus-wide initiative offers a unique opportunity to build upon the outstanding strengths of Texas A&M, and go beyond the conventional limits of modern science and technology.

The group has established long-term research collaborations with other departments of the university (Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering) and with leading research centers around the world both in the US (such as NIST Boulder, Harvard, and Princeton) and abroad (Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow; Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Munich; Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute; Beijing Computational Science Research Center; KACST, Riyadh). We annually organize two conferences: the Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Eletronics and the Summer Quantum Optics Workshop; these conferences attract about two hundred of the most active scientists from all over the world. Due to this international climate in a highly productive environment, our graduate and post-doctoral students are extremely successful. They hold positions in the optical, semiconductor, and photonics industries, in management and consulting, in R&D laboratories, and as faculty at national and international universities.

Other research interests of our group include molecular dynamics and coherent control of chemical reactions, laser control of nuclear transitions, quantum computing, ion trapping, studies of light scattering in a coupled atmosphere-ocean system, imaging in highly turbid media using polarimetry, sensitive detection of rare isotopes, bio-sensing based on surface plasmon resonances and plasmonic nano-antennas, opto-acoustics.