News Release 

AMO physicists to share latest research at virtual conference

Annual meeting of atomic, molecular, and optical physicists will take place in cyberspace

American Physical Society

PORTLAND, OR, Friday May 29, 2020 -- Fundamental research on interactions between matter and light will be presented next week at the American Physical Society's (APS) second fully virtual meeting. The 51st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) will be free to attend and open to the public, although registration is required.

Following the success of its Virtual April Meeting, APS is set to provide a robust online meeting experience for its oldest and one of its largest divisions. Between 1,200 and 1,300 scientists are expected to attend the Virtual DAMOP Meeting to present and discuss a wide range of phenomena, including:

  • Structure and properties of atoms, ions, and molecules
  • Atomic, molecular, and charged particle collisions
  • Ultrafast and strong field physics
  • Lasers and quantum optics
  • Quantum information science
  • Degenerate gases and many-body physics
  • Cold atoms, ions, molecules, and plasmas
  • General precision measurements/fundamental constants

Members of the media are invited to explore 87 live sessions and three "on-demand" poster sessions. Please consult the scientific program for the most up-to-date schedule. Please note that all session times are Pacific Daylight Time.



Meeting Website:
Scientific Program:


High-Speed Quantum Memory

Quantum technologies promise unprecedented computing power. However, even the best quantum memories operate hundreds of thousands times slower than classical memory. To speed up quantum computing, Kai Shinbrough and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have used a cloud of extremely hot (>1000 C) barium atoms to trap and release a single photon of 200 femtosecond duration. "We were surprised at just how fast our quantum memory can be," said Shinbrough. "In classical computers we're limited by how fast we can modulate an electrical signal that travels down a wire, but we don't know what is limiting quantum memory that deals instead with photons traveling through an atomic cloud."

TIME: 8:00 AM-8:12 AM, Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Perfect Patterns of Atoms

Controlling ever larger number of neutral atom qubits allows scientists to explore new quantum phases of matter and implement quantum computing algorithms. Tout Wang and colleagues at Harvard University demonstrate they can create perfect arrays of up to 300 atoms, the largest collection of these kind of qubits generated to date. The researchers use acousto-optical deflectors to sort these atoms into arbitrary patterns, with each atom held in place by a microscopic laser beam.

TIME: 2:48 PM-3:00 PM, Wednesday, June 3, 2020


Atomic Antennas

Amy Robinson of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology want to replace large, metal antennas with atoms. Using light to excite atoms, the researchers have developed an atomic sensor that can measure an electric field across a wide range of frequencies with minimal disturbance to the field it measures. "It is quite amazing that over the past decade we have learned to control ensembles of atoms to such an extent that they can be used then in a breadth of interesting and unique applications," said Robinson.

TIME: 8:00 AM-8:12 AM, Thursday, June 4, 2020


The Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) was founded in 1943 as the Division of Electron and Ion Optics, the first APS division. With approximately 3,200 members, DAMOP is also one of the largest units at APS. It is home to physicists engaged in fundamental research on atoms, molecules, photons, and their interactions.

About APS

The American Physical Society (APS) is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, DC.

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