W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

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W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by saharss2533 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:00 pm

W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

The Weld group uses the tools of experimental atomic physics to attack problems relevant to the many-body quantum mechanics of condensed matter. Research interests include experimental ultracold atomic physics, quantum simulation, optical lattices, trapping of alkali and alkaline earth atoms, novel quantum phases, nonequilibrium dynamics, new cooling techniques, analogies between condensed matter and atomic physics, quantum metrology, and micron-scale force sensing.

The research in this lab focuses on three main directions:
1. Quantum Simulation
Quantum simulation seeks to use the precision and control of ultracold atomic physics to address questions regarding the many-body quantum mechanics of condensed matter systems. Our group's research in this area aims at the creation and study of novel quantum phases and the fruitful application of analogies between atoms in optical lattices and electrons in ionic lattices.

2. Dynamics of Ultracold Systems
Ultracold atoms in optical lattice traps offer a near-ideal experimental context in which to investigate quantum dynamics of single-component and multi-component systems. In addition to investigating the growing field of nonequilibrium quantum dynamics, we intend to use dynamical techniques to demonstrate new methods of cooling and controlling ultracold samples.

3. Quantum Metrology
Quantum degenerate atomic systems can be used as sensitive local force probes. Our group aims to build such a probe using ultracold alkaline earth atoms, and apply it to the study of non-Newtonian gravitational interactions at small length scales.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by fabian » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:43 am

For me, this was the most interesting visit so far, also because it connected to some of my previous though processes on the interface of art and science. The revelation that "simulation" in terms of quantum physics actually means "using the real thing to do the real thing" points, I think, directly to some ongoing debates in aesthetic theory (Baudrillard etc.). I am definitely inspired for my final project and starting to do some research. To be more specific, I am thinking about writing a paper on the aesthetic implications of the concept of simulation used in quantum physics. Basically, I would like to ask, as representation and simulation have many aspects in common, what could a new definition of simulation, coming from quantum physics, mean for the notion of representation in art?

By the way, at least according to its citations, this seems to be an important paper in the field (it is also by one of the most important quantum physicists of all time, Richard Feynman): http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02650179.

In terms of the experience of the visit, I found the spatial (and social) setup fascinating: A couple of people in a room with no windows and no functioning clock, working on three giant experimentation tables. One question that came to mind was, how aesthetic decisions influence these setups, maybe even subconsciously. For instance, how do they decide on the path the light is going to take on the table if there is more than one viable option? That is why I asked David if it could be done as one very long line of elements as well. "Form follows function" is of course always the credo for this kind of work, but I am wondering about the "microscopic" aesthetic decisions that are not bound to functionality but still need to be answered.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by intae » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:01 pm

Before we visited the Weld lab, I was expecting to see tons of books, computers, and graduate students. Unlike my imagination, the instruments they are building were festinating things, I can say it is an art piece. Especially, to catch the invisible images to human eye, they designed a "table" which has a lot of lenses and electronic wire. The table it self, it seems like a machine to save a life.

I could feel their enthusiasm and energy to what they believe now, there is no questions how much time the team devoted to annoying debugging processes. I like the fact that they arranged all the gadgets to achieve something even the lab was assigned in the confined space.

Other than that, one of the striking things in there was Rising Sun Flag. As fas as know, the US and Japan went through an abhorrent war. The flag was hung on the side of study room. For me, it was left as an untangled question so far.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by rluo » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:16 pm

Physics Lab or Contemporary Museum

It will not be weird if I enter a contemporary museum, and see an atom generating machine and a two dimensional array of laser robots. On Weld Lab’s website, if all the texts are erased, it’s like a portfolio of an artist. We can see the images of Nanostructured Copper Film, Artsy MOT, and PM slower. Although the names are very scientific, the presentations are very aesthetics. Thus, I’m curious about the relationship between science and art? Science and art, in some degree, both reveal the beauty of nature. The development of science definitely pushes the boundary of art. There will be no new media arts without the invention of new media technologies, such 3D scanning, depth camera, hologram, etc. On the other hand, art also pushes the boundary of science. In film industry, for example, film artists wanted to create a more vivid and immersive experience to the audience so 3D & iMax movie is invented.

Another interesting finding in the lab is their working methods. I noticed that one of the graduate students used a business card to block lasers. It’s very hard to imagine that in this high-spec lab, the working methods is somewhat a little bit casual.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by akshay » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:04 pm

The atmosphere at the Weld Lab was akin to my familiarity. The group's dynamics and work culture were like that of hobbyists putting together a passion project. The casual arrangement of equipment and the need to frequently debug their equipment - to quote, "95% of the time" - both reflected this expeditious fervor. It was interesting to see that small time hobbyists and accomplished physicists aren't very different in their idiosyncrasies.

I found it fascinating, the fact that the process of building their testing platform is, in itself, laborious and multidisciplinary. He mentioned that positions in the lab aren't designated based on expertise: not only did they need to have a working knowledge of optics, electrical equipment, heating equipment, fabrication, computer simulation tools and high precision sensor calibration, but also mastery in their main area of focus - quantum simulation.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by kurt » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:15 pm

Some photos from our visit:

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by kurt » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:19 pm

More photos:

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by kurt » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:08 am

I'll join Fabian in declaring this my favorite lab visit thus far. Two things that stuck out for me in David's lab were that the research bridges the usual gap between theory and experiment, and that the primary data collecting device which this amazing machine divulges its secrets to is simply a camera.

In my limited exposure to quantum physics I have noticed a familiar divide between theory and experiment. This sort of separation is evident in many disciplines and takes a variety of forms. One common example is the isolation of a company's research and development department from a practical or product-centric department. Prof. Weld is exploring a terrain where these lines become blurred through instrument fabrication followed by experimentation of novel theories. A paper is published if the machine works. I visualize this as a closed loop of extremely focused expertise that has integrated an array of multidisciplinary skills in order to keep the loop closed, so to speak. Even spatially the lab functions in a kind of circle, or figure eight. By having a theory which can be experimented on, the instrument's design becomes a reflection of new ideas, and as such has some inherent aesthetic value.

Another surprising feature of this lab was its reliance on photography. It is by no means simple or accessible photography, but data is nonetheless collected from a photon-sensitive camera. This speaks to both the enduring, almost mythical power of capturing light as well as the capabilities of modern imaging technology. In this case, their experiment not only ends with a photograph but is ended by the photograph. Precisely varied wavelengths of light hit the fragile sample (which is amazingly 2000 times colder than space) to reveal its hidden properties, and by consequence destroy it. So delicate is the subject that it ceases to exist when we shine light on it. These sorts of statements are usually reserved for poetry, ruminations on the paradoxes of the human condition. Yet they exist as explicit truths, a property of reality, fleetingly proven through the camera. The camera then, used so often in modern times to tell lies, renews its original vows to record a ground truth.

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Re: W04V - Prof. David Weld Group

Post by jcw » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:57 pm

As I believe the vibration of sound can affect and shift human beings at the quantum level. I am always interested in developing new artistic expressions for encouraging people to create and engage with sound. This has been a strong motivating force for many years. I have witnessed the music’s power in sustaining people, comforting them though great suffering: I saw the sick and elderly die peacefully after being blessed with chanting; I saw the depressed youth refresh themselves after a period of spiritual retreat and music therapy; I saw the Tibetan exiles motivate themselves with their folk music and beautiful prayers to risk their lives for what they believe in. These experiences urged me to do further research on music’s healing power.

During this lab visit, I got excited about the lab manager's casual conversation about one person's using whistles to catch the atoms and to change their trajectories of movement. This is amazing and is a solid proof about the power of sound and its vibration. It needs to be studies in more depth!

I was wondering if anyone knows what has been done in this field?

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