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Chad Orzel: Web Page

At Kegon Falls, Nikko, Japan

At Kegon Falls, Nikko, Japan, December 1998

I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Union College, where I've been since September of 2001. This page is meant to provide a quick guide to what I do when I'm working.

My research is in the field of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics, specifically in using lasers to cool samples of atoms to ultra-cold temperatures (T ~ 1-100 μK, where 1 μK is one one-millionth of a degree above absolute zero) and studying what happens in collisions between ultra-cold atoms. At these low temperatures, the behavior of atoms is much different than at room temperature, and quantum-mechanical effects can dramatically change the collisional properties.

For more on laser cooling and the related field of Bose-Einstein Condensation, check out the BEC Tutorial put together by the University of Colorado. I also teach a two-week module on laser cooling for Physics 14.

I've also become interested in using the technique of Atom Trap Trace Analysis to measure trace amounts of contamination in ultra-pure gases used for exotic particle detectors. The ATTA technique uses laser cooling to measure the abundance of extremely rare isotopes or contaminant atoms by trapping and detecting individual atoms.

Some links: