Meet an Undergraduate Researcher!
I worked over two summers to build a magneto-optical trap (MOT)
that will soon become part of an undergraduate teaching lab at the university.
An MOT uses laser beams and a magnetic field
to trap a cloud of atoms in the center of a vacuum chamber while sapping their kinetic energy. Eventually, the atoms reach temperatures of several hundred micro-Kelvin above absolute zero: thousands of times colder than outer space. This process is the first step in creating clouds of ultra-cold atoms, called Bose-Einstein condensates, whose quantum mechanical properties are a very active field of research.
I have presented work relating to this project at the APS Frontiers in Optics Undergraduate Session, the Rochester Symposium for Physics Students, and the University of Rochester Undergraduate Research Expo. I plan to write a senior thesis describing the project.