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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics deals with the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules and their interactions with the electromagnetic field. Research in AMO physics extends from the regime of extremely low-temperature gases to the other extreme of high-field matter light interactions, spanning approximately fifteen orders of magnitude in energy. Current work in the AMO group is in the areas of ultra-cold atoms and Bose-Einstein condensates, atom optics, and quantum control, quantum optics, scattering of molecules from surfaces, neutrino rest mass from beta decay, molecular beam slowing, formation and study of nano-particles, molecular scattering and sonoluminescence, tabletop accelerators, laser fusion, and relativistic shock waves. The research is inherently multi-disciplinary, and members of the AMO group have developed close collaborations with faculty in condensed matter physics, nonlinear dynamics, high energy physics, and plasma physics, and even beyond the physics department.



Current Core Physics Faculty

  • Todd Ditmire, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1995.

    Professor of Physics | Director, Texas Center for High Energy-Density Science (CHEDS).

    Advanced Accelerator Concepts; Laser/Plasma Particle Acceleration and Interactions; Strong Field Quantum Field Physics; Advanced X-ray and Gamma-ray Radiation Sources; Experimental & Computational Relativistic Plasma and Particle Physics; Nuclear Physics; Ultrahigh Intensity Laser-Matter Interaction.

  • Michael W. Downer, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1983.

    Professorship in Physics #2 | Distinguished Teaching Professor.

    Atomic and molecular physics; atomic physics; femtosecond spectroscopy; condensed matter surfaces; high-field atomic and plasma physics.

  • Björn Manuel Hegelich, Ph.D., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 2002.

    Associate Professor of Physics.

    Laser-plasma simulations and strong field quantum field theory. Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, Plasma and Fusion; interaction of ultra-intense electromagnetic fields with matter; high energy-density physics; laser particle acceleration.

  • Daniel J. Heinzen, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.

    The Fondren Foundation Centennial Chair in Physics.

    Atomic and molecular physics; laser cooling and atom trapping; Bose-Einstein condensation.

  • John W. Keto, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1972.

    Professor of Physics | Graduate Advisor.

    Reactions and radiative processes of excited atoms and molecules; laser spectroscopy, nanoparticles.

  • Greg O. Sitz, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1987.

    Elizabeth B. Gleeson Professor of Physics | Distinguished Teaching Professor.

    Associate Chair, Undergraduate Affairs | Undergraduate Advisor.

    Experimental atomic and molecular physics; oriented molecules; surface scattering.


Other Physics Professors with Research Interests in this Area

  • Edoardo Baldini, Ph.D., École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 2017.

    Assistant Professor.

    Experimental condensed matter physics; discovery and nonequilibrium control of quantum phases of matter, ultrafast laser science.

  • Ernst-Ludwig Florin, Ph.D., Technische Universität München, 1995.

    Experimental biophysics, nonlinear dynamics.

  • Elaine Li, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2003.

    Professor of Physics.

    Experimental condensed matter physics, quantum control, and nanophotonics. Ultrafast spectroscopy and inelastic light scattering of metallic films and nanoparticles, van der Waals materials, semiconductor nanostructures, magnetic thin films.


Professors in Other Departments

Emeritus and Retired Physics Faculty

  • Manfred Fink, Ph.D., Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe, 1966.

    Professor of Physics (Retired)

    Electron diffraction.