A beam of light that turns on very quickly is transmitted for a few nanoseconds before the Rubidium atoms begin to respond and absorb the light.

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Diode Lasers

We use three homebuilt diode lasers based on a proven design that can be assembled for roughly $500 in parts.

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Quantum State Measurement of Stored Light

We will perform unbalanced quantum-state measurements using array-based detection techniques to measure the quantum state of light after storage and retrieval process. These experiments will take place in warm and cold atomic vapor systems.

Stored light

is the name of a technique for freezing an optical pulse inside an atomic vapor and storing it for a few milliseconds. The pulse of light is released from the atomic medium by an independent control beam. We have recently been awarded funding to perform measurements of the quantum state of light after storage in an atomic medium.

Atom Trapping

We operate a magneto-optical trap (MOT) that is capable of cooling and trapping Rubidium atoms.


The miniMOT is the first turn-key commercial product for creating cold atoms. We installed ours in 2009 and have been cooling and trapping Rubidium since then.

anisotropic MOT

We create an anisotropic atom cloud; one that is much longer than it is wide. We then study the interactions between laser light and this long, narrow cloud of atoms.

Coherent Blue Light

By driving warm Rubidium vapor with 780 nm light and 776 nm light, we excite the atoms from the 5S1/2 state to the 5D5/2 state. From there they can decay via a cascade process and emit light at 420 nm. When the two pump fields copropagate, the 420 nm light is coherent and exits the Rubidium vapor as a collimated beam.

UV from IR

This experiment is a great project for undergraduate optics students. The generation of UV light from two IR lasers illustrates many phenomena. Specifically, the atomic structure is evidenced by the three different wavelengths involved in the process. Furthermore, coherent emission is a result of a combination of four-wave mixing and lasing without inversion. These phenomena invoke quantum mechanics of the rubidium vapor and can be explored using equipment that is often available at the advanced lab level.

All-Optical Switching

Increased demand for high-bandwidth data drives the development of new communications technologies. One current bottleneck is the electronic processing of transmitted data. To overcome limitations in semiconductor processing speed, all-optical computing and communication networks are being developed.

Rubidium vapor switching

Two counterpropagating beams in rubidium vapor can induce patterns that are very sensitive to external perturbations. We've demonstrated an all-optical switch that can be realized in this system.

Information display

I am interested in improving the display and dissemination of scientific information. This curiousity has also extended into an interest in interactive displays. I use Arduino hardware, and Processing to create displays that respond to their environment.

Webcam Mask

A simple processing script that takes your laptop webcam image and replaces a specific region with an external image. Think of it as a digital mask.

3D Printing

The rise of 3D printing over the past three years has been exciting to watch. The physics department purchased a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic in Dec. 2011. The physics club assembled the printer, and managed its use until 2014 when it was retired. We now operate a Lulzbot Taz 5 printer, a great machine that has been a pleasure to work with.

3D printer

For more on what our 3D printer can do, check out the recent New York Times Article

Making and Hacking

I am generally interested in all sorts of making and hacking. I teach electronics at Pacific, and this course has showed me how powerful the maker ethic is among students here. I don't think Pacific is unique in that sense... America has strayed from what made us great: ingenuity, creativity, and productivity. In the way that garage bands reshaped the 90's of my youth, I hope that garage factories reshape the manufacturing landscape of the next decade. I'll certainly be doing my part!