The Patterson Group

The Patterson group is dedicated to carefully doing things to molecules that have never been done before.  We are pursuing three cold molecule frontiers, both driven by the idea of exploiting the rich, fundamentally quantum behavior of cold molecules.

Our new double-well “ping-pong” trap. The two faint blue dots within the trap are single Strontium atoms at millikelvin temperatures. These atoms indicate the location of a single [invisible] tropylium molecular ion. By shuttling this molecule back and forth, we can record the high-resolution infrared absorption spectrum of molecule. This brand new technique allows for far more precise spectroscopy of polyatomic molecules than existing methods.
  • We can now record high-resolution spectra of individual molecules via single molecule inelastic recoil spectroscopy. This work builds on fantastic work by the Schlemmer group in Cologne, who recently demonstrated a new method of Doppler-limited spectroscopy of ensembles of polyatomic molecules. Using our AMO toolbox, we have extended this technique to single molecules, and hope to increase the resolution of the technique by 2-3 orders of magnitude. This general technique should realize the most precise spectra ever recorded of polyatomic molecules.
  • We have recently realized general single-molecule analytics for the first time, via non-destructive single molecule infrared spectroscopy. This tool – which worked for the first time in October 2022 – answers the ultimate question in nanoanalytics: given a single molecule of a compound, can you identify it?
  • We hope to use the exquisite control and agility of modern microwave synthesizers and ion trapping techniques to prepare polyatomic molecules in single quantum states for the first time.
Our next generation ion trap, designed and built by Aaron

November 10, 2018: We’ve got the zig-zag pattern. Now we can start squeezing experiments.

November 5, 2018: We have imaged a trapped chain of strontium ions! We now have single-ion resolution!

September 14, 2018: We trapped our first cloud of strontium ions in our cryogenic trap! Thanks to my amazing team for all their hard work!

multiple clouds of Strontium ions (blue streaks) in our segmented cryogenic trap

We are currently seeking new graduate students to join our team.