Taming, slowing and trapping atoms with light
Cold is quantum, Quantum is cool!
Multicolored lasers for a variety of different atoms
Keeping our eyes on the quantum
High technology for great science
Join our ultracool group!

Welcome to the website of the Ultracold Quantum Gases group at the European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (LENS) and Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Florence (Italy). In our labs we use lasers and magnetic fields to produce the lowest temperatures of the Universe, just a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero...

At these temperatures, atoms stop moving and we can control them for a variety of different fundamental studies and applications. We can force atoms to arrange according to a periodic structure and simulate the behavior of crystalline solids and new materials. We can use the atoms as ultra-high accurate sensors to probe forces with the power of quantum mechanics. We can study how quantum particles combine together under the action of strong interactions and how superfluidity develops. We can use these ultracold atoms to process information and develop new quantum technologies.

Dress warmly and... follow us for this ultracold journey!


Carlo Sias has been awarded with an ERC Starting Grant! The title of the project is "PlusOne: An ultracold gas plus one ion: advancing Quantum Simulations of in- and out-of-equilibrium many-body physics”. Congratulations!

Ultracold atoms and trapped ions are among the most powerful tools to study quantum physics. On the one hand, ultracold neutral atoms provide an exceptional resource for studying many-body physics, since a relatively large number of particles, typically from a few tens of thousands to several million, can be brought to quantum degeneracy. Quantum gases have been used extensively in recent years to realize quantum simulations of fundamental models of condensed matter, the solutions of which are often too complex to be computed. On the other hand, trapped ions provide a great resource to explore the physics of small quantum systems. They provide one of the most successful hardwares for a quantum computer, and clocks made of trapped ions are among the most precise. Moreover, trapped ions have been recently used as a quantum simulator, making the path of the two subjects of ultracold atoms and trapped ions even more entangled.

Only recently, though, ultracold atoms and trapped ions have been brought together in a single experimental setup. The progress in this new research field has been extremely fast, and now about ten groups in the world have built or are currently building experimental setups in which different pairs of atoms and ions are used together. piccola sito The reason for this interest is based on the several innovative ingredients that are available – many more than in traditional atomic physics experiments. At the fundamental level, atoms and ions interact through a potential that is much more long-ranged with respect to the interaction between ultracold atoms (scaling with R-4 instead of R-6, where R is the internuclear separation), and one can exploit the different techniques to manipulate atoms and ions to exert more control in the hybrid system. With this control at hand, atom-ion quantum systems have been proposed to advance quantum simulation, quantum computation, and quantum chemistry.

In our project, we plan to realize a new-generation atom-ion machine in order to realize new quantum simulations of a many-body system in the presence of one or more localized impurities. With this setup, we plan to investigate fundamental atom-ion interactions in the ultracold regime, and to use these controlled interactions to realize a platform for investigating out-of-equilibrium quantum systems and quantum thermodynamics.

We report on the first direct observation of fast spin-exchange coherent oscillations between di fferent long-lived electronic orbitals of ultracold 173Yb fermions. We measure, in a model-independent way, the strength of the exchange interaction driving this coherent process. This observation allows us to retrieve important information on the inter-orbital collisional properties of 173Yb atoms and paves the way to novel quantum simulations of paradigmatic models of two-orbital quantum magnetism.

G. Cappellini et al.,
Direct Observation of Coherent Interorbital Spin-Exchange Dynamics
Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 120402 (2014)

See also the Physics Viewpoint by A. M. Rey:

A. M. Rey
Observing the Great Spin and Orbital Swap
Physics 7, 95 (2014)

In an array of one-dimensional traps, we create impurities of K atoms immersed in reservoir of Rb atoms. The impurities are first localized by an external species-selective potential and then suddenly freed: their subsequent dynamics exhibits "breathing" oscillations, due to a weaker confining potential. We find that the amplitude of these oscillations is reduced when increasing the strength of the impurity-reservoir interaction, irrespective of its sign. We interpret our data with a polaric mass shift model derived following Feynman variational approach.

J. Catani et al.
Quantum dynamics of impurities in a one-dimensional Bose gas
Phys. Rev. A 85, 023623 (2012)

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Seminars & Events

The LENS QuantumGases group is glad to welcome in Florence Prof. Randall Hulet from Rice University. Prof. Hulet will be our guest for one month until mid July.
20 & 21.04.2017
QUIC Project Meeting
See detailed program
Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Prof. Nick Proukakis:
Non-Equilibrium Dynamics in Quantum Gases,
h. 11.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Prof. David Clément:
Momentum-resolved investigation of the condensate depletion in interacting Bose gases,
h. 15.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Dr. Carmine Ortix:
Symmetry-protected topological insulators in one-dimension,
h. 12.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Trento-Florence Joint Meeting on Cold Matter
Polo Scientifico di Povo, Trento.
Seminar by Dr. Franck Pereira Dos Santos:
Cold Atom Interferometry Gravity Sensors,
h.15.15 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Andrea Morales:
Supersolid formation in a quantum gas breaking a continuous translational symmetry,
h.15.15 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Prof. Jean-Philippe Brantut:
Mesoscopic transport experiments with cold atoms,
h. 11.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Dr. Guido Pagano:
Observation of a Discrete Time Crystal in a Trapped-Ion Quantum Simulator,
h. 16.30 Querzoli room, LENS.
Seminar by Dr. Francesco Piazza:
Spontaneous Crystallisation of Light and Ultracold Atoms,
h. 15.00 Querzoli room, LENS.
Fermi Colloquim by Prof. Jun Ye:
Optical atomic clock and many-body quantum physics,
h. 11.30 Querzoli room, LENS.