Dr. Svetlana Malinovskaya, Professor of Physics, presented her innovative work on ultracold dynamics and decoherence at the influential Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) which organized the Program on “Fundamental science and applications of ultracold polar molecules.” The research into cold and ultracold molecules is now reaching the forefront of ultracold physics, giving rise to an exciting array of scientific opportunities. Cold and ultracold molecules can be used as a platform for new studies of quantum physics owing to the existence of molecular internal structure combined with exquisite control over ultracold matter. Cold molecules therefore bring together researchers from many, traditionally disjoint, fields in a remarkable synergy of scientific explorations: atomic, molecular, and optical physics, physical chemistry and chemical physics, quantum information science and quantum simulations, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics.
Sixty-six participants, who included theoretical physicists and other scientists, came from all over the globe to the program and explore new ideas and techniques. For three weeks, Dr. Malinovskaya participated in the workshop on emerging topics in cold and ultracold molecules and their significance to the study of physics. Dr. Malinovskaya presented a seminar where she discussed her new method on cooling internal degrees of freedom in molecules from the Feshabch states using optical frequency combs. The talk is available online.
“Dr. Malinovskaya’s pioneering work in low temperature quantum physics is a significant contributor to a world-class research activity at Stevens,” says Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science. “Her participation at KITP was a collaborative opportunity to advance the science of quantum physics.”
Dr. Malinovskaya’s work was recently published in the highly esteemed Journal of the Optical Society of America B. At ultracold temperatures, atoms and molecules can form states of matter governed solely by quantum mechanics. Dr. Malinovskaya uses this phenomenon to study important processes like quantum decoherence, a loss of information in a quantum system that creates a major stumbling block in efforts to create ultrafast quantum information transmissions. By studying the movement and interaction of molecules at these ultracold temperatures, Dr. Malinovskaya was able to investigate decoherence and developed a new method to mitigate it using ultrafast optical frequency combs. Optical frequency combs are recognized as a new and unique tool for high precision spectroscopic analysis and studies of ultrafast dynamics in atoms and molecules.
“Research into cold and ultracold molecules is at the forefront of quantum physics, where it is opening up an exciting array of opportunities for new scientific inquiry,” says Dr. Malinovskaya. Potential areas of research include: new states of matter, quantum optics, quantum information processing, quantum simulation and precision tests of fundamental physical laws in a new, entirely quantum regime.
Dr. Malinovskaya is chair of the Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Community and conducts research in a wide range of theoretical studies, including chemical physics, quantum optics, quantum control, and nonlinear dynamics. As the director of the Ultrafast Dynamics and Control Theory Group at Stevens, Dr. Malinovskaya focuses on cutting-edge theoretical studies of ultrafast laser pulse interaction with atoms and molecules, designing femtosecond pulses with particular spectral properties to control molecular dynamics. She also investigates ultrafast molecular dynamics and the impact of fast decoherence in stimulated Raman scattering and CARS microspectroscopy.
“The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics hosts extensive programs and conferences to bring together researchers from traditionally disparate fields,” says Dr. Rainier Martini, Director of the Physics and Engineering Physics Department. “Only the most respected scientists are invited to speak at KITP, which is a testament to Dr. Malinovskaya’s excellent work.”
About the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics
The mission of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology is to provide a world-class scientific research and academic environment that fosters creation of new knowledge while educating and inspiring students at all levels as well as motivating faculty and support staff, to acquire, use, and advance the competencies needed to lead in scientific discovery and in the creation, application and management of technology to solve complex problems, invent new processes and products, and build new enterprises. The program has a strong focus on interdisciplinary projects and effectively combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience in state-of-the-art research laboratories. The Department has broad research programs, with special emphasis on the fields of atomic, molecular, and optical physics (AMO), photonics technology, quantum optics, and quantum information science.
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