Welcome to the AMO Lab of Wendell Hill, at the University of Maryland


The experiments performed in our lab focus on nascent and field-induced quantum-correlated motion of atoms, electrons, and ions, often under extreme circumstances. Projects generally fall into three categories: ultracold, ultrafast, and ultraintense.


Using quantum-degenerate gases, for example, we explore nuetral-atoms analogs of electronics, as well as macroscopic quantum behavior such as superconductivity and superfluidity. We also have an interest in using cold atoms to create Hamiltonians to simulate dynamic gauge phenomena such as vacuum fluctuations related to pair production.


Our ultrafast projects explore dynamics at timescales ranging from hundreds to femtoseconds to a few tens of attoseconds. These timescales are associated with indigenous motion of atoms in molecules as bonds are created and broken (femtoseconds) and electrons in internal electronic states within atoms and molecules when they are excited or removed altogether (attoseconds), especially from inner shells.


At the high-intensity extreme our studies fall into the realm of fundamental science keep diagnostic tools and applications on the fundamental side, we are interested in the quantum vacuum and novel tests of quantum electrodynamics (QED). In anticipation of multi-petawatt lasers coming online in the near future, where intensities are expected to reach the level of 1025 W/cm2 and above, we are designing photon-photon scattering experiments to test the Lagrangian of QED that will lead to a better understanding of the birefringence of the vacuum. These studies require a host of diagnostic tools to be developed including ways to measure the intensity profile of a focused pulse at full power and how to ensure the focal volume in devoid of real matter. At the same time, we are pursuing laser-based techniques for proton/ion acceleration, which have applications in the health field for cancer treatment and high energy density physics for probing equation of state of plasmas. Diagnostic tools for measuring the energy and time history of the protons are also being developed.





Group Lead

Wendell T. Hill

(301) 405 4813


Room B0165 Physical Sciences Complex

Building 415, University of Maryland

College Park, MD 20742


This work is supported by the National Science Foundation