Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics

First Advisor

James K. Thompson

Second Advisor

Jun Ye

Third Advisor

Eric Cornell

Fourth Advisor

Konrad Lehnert

Fifth Advisor

Zoya Popovic

Abstract

Advances in engineering quantum systems are expected to lead to a new generation of quantum technology with fundamentally new capabilities and no classical analogue. Specifically, in the near future, quantum entanglement may become useful for enhancing state-of-the-art atomic clocks and sensors. I have performed experiments using laser-cooled rubidium atoms trapped in a high finesse optical cavity to explore quantum and collective enhancements to precision measurements.

In this thesis, I will present a recent experiment to create record amounts of entanglement-enhancement, or spin squeezing, in a proof-of-principle atomic sensor using entanglement-generating collective measurements. We have demonstrated up to a factor of 60 in directly observed spin squeezing beyond the standard quantum limit for an unentangled quantum sensor and have demonstrated squeezing with real-time feedback to create deterministic entangled states. Second, I will present a new method that has generated over a factor of 10 in homogeneous entanglement that could be resolvable in free-space quantum sensors such as matter-wave interferometers and discuss a new method to reduce errors in manipulating collective spin states using reversible dephasing. These experiments and methods are directly applicable to some of the world's best optical lattice clocks such as those housed here at JILA and NIST.

In addition, I have studied and demonstrated a proof-of-principle superradiant laser that relies on collectively enhanced laser emission. These lasers have the potential to realize state-of-the-art frequency purity useful for optical atomic clocks and long baseline interferometry. I will discuss an experiment that demonstrates injection locking of a superradiant laser for the first time as well as explores the collective synchronization behaviors in the system. This study of synchronization informs research on current and future narrow linewidth superradiant lasers and may also provide a platform for future studies of quantum phase transitions in open quantum systems.

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