James Shaffer

Homer L. Dodge Professor of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics



Regents' Award for Superior Research & Creative Activity

Presidential Professorship

Humboldt Prize



B.S. 1991 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D. 1999 University of Rochester



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Ph: (405) 325-6656

Office: 143 Nielsen Hall


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Research Description

I am currently interested in investigating exotic states of matter and the coupling of quantum dynamical systems to their environment. My research group has developed novel experimental methods for investigating the interactions between ultracold atoms using Rydberg atom time-of-flight spectroscopy. In developing this method, we were able to predict and find a new type of molecule formed by 2 Rydberg atoms which has a bond length of > 3 μm. I am also interested in other types of molecules that can form at ultralow temperatures such as Rydberg atom-ground state atom molecules and the physics of Efimov states and three-body recombination. These types of systems and methods are important for investigating chemical dynamics that can take place in ultracold atom traps. My research group also is working on understanding the interactions between cold Rydberg atoms for making new types of quantum entanglement based devices such as single photon sources and quantum gates. Some of this work is done at ultracold temperatures, where T ≤ 1 mK, and some is done in thermal vapor cells. Our work in thermal vapor cells is directed at developing an electric field standard and sensor for microwave fields that is based on atoms. Most of these investigations are experimental but my research group also does theory to support our experimental efforts.

Selected Publications

"Atom-Based Vector Microwave Electrometry Using Rubidium Rydberg Atoms in a Vapor Cell," J. A. Sedlacek, A. Schwettmann, H. Kübler, and J. P. Shaffer, Physical Review Letters, 111, 063001, (2013) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.063001

"Microwave electrometry with Rydberg atoms in a vapour cell using bright atomic resonances," J. A. Sedlacek, A. Schwettmann, H. Kübler, R. Löw, T. Pfau and J. P. Shaffer, Nature Physics, 8, 819, (2012) DOI: doi:10.1038/nphys2423

"Observation of Blueshifted Ultralong-Range Cs2 Rydberg Molecules," J. Tallant, S. T. Rittenhouse, D. Booth, H. R. Sadeghpour, and J. P. Shaffer, Physical Review Letters, 109, 173202, (2012) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.173202

"Coherent Excitation of Rydberg Atoms in Thermal Vapor Cells," H. Kubler, J.P. Shaffer, T. Baluksian, R. Low, and T. Pfau, Nature Photonics, 4, 112, (2010) ADS: 2010NaPho...4..112K

"Electric Field Effects in the Excitation of Cold Rydberg Atom Pairs," V.A. Nascimento, L.L. Caliri, A. Schwettmann, J.P. Shaffer, and L.G. Marcassa, Physical Review Letters, 102, 213201, (2009) ADS: 2009PhRvL.102u3201N

"Observation of Ultra-Long Range Rydberg Molecules," V. Bendkowsky, B. Butscher, J. Nipper, J.P. Shaffer, R. Low, and T. Pfau, Nature, 458, 1005, (2009) ADS: 2009Natur.458.1005B

"Observation of Electric-Field Induced Cs Rydberg Atom Macrodimers," K.R. Overstreet, A. Schwettmann, J. Tallant, D. Booth, and J.P. Shaffer, Nature Physics, 5, 581, (2009) ADS: 2009NatPh...5..581O

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Research Group