A single atom coupled to a single mode of light - this archetype of matter-light interaction is investigated here. The boundary conditions imposed by high-quality mirrors lead to a strong coupling between atom and light, yielding a rich system in which single atoms are detected in real time, new light forces appear and the quantum aspects of the radiation come strikingly into play. [more]
Neutral atoms coupled to high-finesse optical cavities provide unique systems to study interactions of light and matter in the quantum regime. State of the art experiments allow full control over an atom residing inside a cavity and all optical fields the atom is exposed to. With these tools for quantum engineering at hand, atom-cavity systems are naturally at the heart of intriguing concepts for quantum computing and quantum communication. Our goal is to realize prototypes of quantum interfaces between ultracold atoms and light, using a coupling mechanism that is based on Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics. [more]
Cooling the motion, rotation and vibration of molecules offers great potential for improving precision measurements. It also allows for the investigation of chemistry and collisions at low temperatures. As laser cooling does not work for molecules due to the lack of closed transitions, we develop new methods to cool, trap and study polar molecules like water or ammonia. [more]

We experimentally investigate ultracold atomic gases. In recent years our focus has been on studies of large optical nonlinearities at the single-photon level created by coupling photons to atomic Rydberg excitations.

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