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Research tracks...



COLD ATOMS


Neutral atomic gases can be cooled down to ultralow temperatures by using narrow-band tunable lasers. At nK temperatures, the velocity of the atoms is so close to zero that its position is blurred due to the uncertainity principle. As a result, the atoms overlap their wavefunctions and loose their identities, generating a macroscopic coherent cloud of matter called a (gaseous) Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC). In this fascinating system, the quantum properties of Nature emerge to the macroscopic world.

In our lab we are building up the first BEC in Spain. To this aim, we are using Rb atoms and infrarred lasers. Once the ultracold gas is formed, we will be able to implement in experiments some of our previous theoretical works. In particular, we will focus on nonlinear properties of matter waves like atomic solitons and their applications in ultraprecise measurements.



NONLINEAR AND QUANTUM OPTICS




Nonlinear optics is concerned with the propagation of light (usually laser light) in materials with a refractive index which depends on the intensity of the incident beam. We are focused on building up experiments to demonstrate some of our previous theories in these exciting field. In particular, we are trying to develope new techniques that allow to produce a new state of matter called the "liquid of light", which is an example of a coherent phase transition which, as we have shown before theoretically, is not ruled by quantum effects despite it takes place in a system at zero temperature (the gas of photons).

The liquid of light can be obtained by means of atomic interference in a cold gas of atoms, taking advantage of a phenomenon called "Electromagnetically Induced Transparency" (EIT). Thus, our goal will be to produce EIT in a cold atomic cloud to taylor the nonlinear refractive index in such a way that surface tension properties of light beams can be observed for the first time.



PHOTONIC CRYSTALS




Photonic crystals are periodic transparent structures that only allow propagation of light through restricted paths defined by the so-called "photonic band-gap". These materials can be fabricated by different techniques and are the optimal candidates for building photonic circuits where light can be guided to produce new all-optical devices with fascinating applications.

In our group we are developing new techniques to fabricate and measure the optical properties of three-dimensional photonics crystals, which can be used for several photonics applications like optical sensing or precise measurements, among others.



EXTREME OPTICS



The discovery of techniques like chirped pulse amplification paved the way for the construction of tabletop PW lasers. With such a powrful light source, high energy physics can be explored all-optically, as we have recently proposed. In particular, we are investigating different approaches to the problem of detecting for the first time photon-photon scattering of laser light propagating in vacuum, an effect which is well-known from the begining of Quantum Mechanics that has not been directly observed yet.

The future test of our proposals could be addressed in the frame of international cooperation in large laser facilities like the European Light Infrastructure (ELI) which is planned to be operative by 2020.




Ministerio de ciencia e innovaciĆ³n  Xunta de Galicia  FEDER  Universidad de Vigo  FECYT