John E. Thomas

John E. Thomas

Fritz London Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics

Professor Emeritus of Physics

Office Location: 
185 Physics Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90305, Durham, NC 27708-0305
Phone: 
(919) 660-2508

Overview

Professor John E. Thomas is exploring the physics of an optically trapped degenerate Fermi gas. The group pioneered the development of ultrastable all-optical traps for neutral atoms in 1999, achieving trap lifetimes of more than 400 seconds, comparable to the best magnetic traps. The group has developed methods for direct evaporative cooling of neutral atoms in optical traps, enabling the first all-optical production of a degenerate Fermi gas in 2001. The trapped gas comprises a degenerate 50-50 mixture of spin-up and spin-down fermionic lithium-6 atoms, which exhibits a collisional (Feshbach) resonance in a bias magnetic field. In 2002, the Duke group was the first to produce and study a strongly interacting degenerate Fermi gas. This system exhibits universal behavior and is a paradigm for testing nonperturbative many-body calculational methods in disciplines from nuclear matter to high temperature superconductors. In 2004, the Duke group was the first to observe evidence for high temperature superfluid hydrodynamics in a strongly interacting Fermi gas. Ongoing experiments include studies of the thermodynamics and transport properties of this unique quantum system.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1979

Selected Grants

Continuous Spatial Photon Echoes for Non-Linear Optical Processing awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 1991 to 1993

Uncertainty Limited Atomic Position Measurement Using Optical Fields awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1993

Uncertainty Limited Atomic Position Measurement Using Optical Fields awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1993

Uncertainty Limited Atomic Position awarded by Army Research Office (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1993

Collision Induced Processes in Macroscopic Optical Coherence awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1992

Continuous Spatial Photon Echoes for Non-Linear Optical Processing awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 1991 to 1992

Precision Atomic Position Measurement Using Optical Fields awarded by Department of Commerce (Principal Investigator). 1993 to 1992

Collision Induced Process in Macroscopic Optical Coherence awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1992

Precision Atomic Position Measurement Using Optical Fields awarded by Department of Commerce (Principal Investigator). 1990 to 1991

Nonlinear Optics in Dense Frequency Narrow Supersonic Beams awarded by Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Principal Investigator). 1988 to 1991

Pages

Lee, K. F., and J. E. Thomas. “Experimental simulation of two-particle quantum entanglement using classical fields.Physical Review Letters, vol. 88, no. 9, Mar. 2002, p. 097902. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.88.097902. Full Text

O’Hara, K. M., et al. “Measurement of the zero crossing in a Feshbach resonance of fermionic [Formula Presented].” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 66, no. 4, Jan. 2002, p. 4. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.66.041401. Full Text

O’Hara, K. M., et al. “Loading dynamics of CO2 laser traps.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 63, no. 4, Jan. 2001, pp. 1–5. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.63.043403. Full Text

O’Hara, K. M., et al. “Scaling laws for evaporative cooling in time-dependent optical traps.” Physical Review a  Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 64, no. 5, Jan. 2001, p. 4. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.64.051403. Full Text

O’Hara, K. M., and J. E. Thomas. “Standing room only at the quantum scale.” Science, vol. 291, 2001, p. 2556.

O’Hara, K. M., et al. “Stable, strongly attractive, two-state mixture of lithium fermions in an optical trap.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 85, no. 10, Sept. 2000, pp. 2092–95. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.85.2092. Full Text

Wax, A., et al. “Path-length-resolved optical phase space distributions for enhanced backscatter.” Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 85, 2000.

Lee, K. F., et al. “Heterodyne measurement of Wigner distributions for classical optical fields.Optics Letters, vol. 24, no. 19, Oct. 1999, pp. 1370–72. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ol.24.001370. Full Text

Wax, A., et al. “Optical phase-space distributions for low-coherence light.Optics Letters, vol. 24, no. 17, Sept. 1999, pp. 1188–90. Epmc, doi:10.1364/ol.24.001188. Full Text

Wax, A., et al. “Characterizing the coherence of broadband sources using optical phase space contours.” J. Biomed. Opt., vol. 4, 1999, pp. 1–8.

Pages