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LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

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Michelle Wang's group pioneers new method for studing multiple molecules at once

Michelle Wang and her lab have developed a new optical trap that allows them to study multiple molecules at once. Previous studies had used such traps to look at single molecules, such as DNA. This new device, called a nanophotonic standing wave array trap (nSWAT), can potentially trap hundreds of molecules at once. This allows researchers to complete experiments in a few days that used to take months.

Read more in the Chronicle.

Funding provided by the American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

nSWAT by Robert Forties

Kyle Shen discovers atomic-scale switch in metal oxides

Kyle Shen and a team from Cornell and Brookhaven National Lab have discovered a new property of metal oxides that can act like a switch. Using a unique laboratory setup that allows for precision growth and measurement of the materials, the group discovered that varying how thick the layers of atoms are can determine whether the material acts as a metal or an insulator. This has exciting potential applications in atomic-scale electronics and superconductivity.

Read more in the Chronicle.

anthanum nickelate

David Mermin says QBism puts the scientist back into science

A new understanding of quantum mechanics restores the balance between scientists and the objects they study, says David Mermin, the Horace White professor of physics emeritus, in this article in Nature.

“They call their new point of view ‘QBism’: Q is for quantum and B is for Bayesian — a view of probability that includes an agent who makes bets and updates odds. QBism attributes the muddle at the foundations of quantum mechanics to our unacknowledged removal of the scientist from the science,” Mermin says.

David Mermin

Jane Wang derives physical law controlling the path of hungry Tiger Beetles

Prof Jane Wang has developed an explination for the path Tiger Beetles take as they chase their prey. What looks like a messy looping path can be defined by physical rules that affect the beetles motion.

Read more in the Chronicle. Or the full article in Interface.

Tiger Beetle chase pattern

Sol Gruner's high-pressure cryocooler goes from the lab to world marketplace

A high-pressure cryocooler developed by Sol Gruner's lab is now available for sale through the Ithaca based company ADC Inc. The device is used to study proteins and simplifies the preparation of protein samples to be used in X-ray crystallography. Under licence with Cornell ADC is producing the cyrocoolers and has completed its first order with a research center in Japan.

Read more in the Chronicle.

ADC Cryocooler

David Awschalom to give Cornell's 2014 Hans Bethe Lecture Series

David Awschalom will present three lectures on spintronics as the 2014 Hans Bethe lecturer. In 1982 Awschalom received his Ph.D from Cornell in experimental physics and he is currently the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. As one of the world leaders in spintronics, Awschalom will be presenting research and engineering applications of this emerging field at a series of talks the week of April 7. More on Awschalom's background can be found in the Chronicle.

UPDATE (4/14/2014): Wondering what spintronics are? Check out this article by George Lowery in the Chronicle.

Schedule for Hans Bethe Lecture series:

Monday, April 7 – Department of Physics Colloquium
4:00pm – Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall
“Beyond Electronics: Abandoning Perfection for Quantum Technologies”

Tuesday, April 8 – LASSP Seminar
4:00pm – 700 Clark Hall
“Ultrafast Quantum Control of Single Electron Orbital and Spin Dynamics in Diamond”

Wednesday, April 9 – Public Lecture
7:30pm – Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall
“Engaging Diamonds in the Quantum Age”

David Awschalom to give 2014 Bethe Lecture Series