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JILA Center for Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics

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JILA AMO Physics Frontier Center  (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The JILA Center for Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics (AMO) at the University of Colorado, Boulder is a Physics Frontiers Center (PFC) supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Physics Frontiers Centers foster major advances at the intellectual frontiers of physics by providing university-based resources not usually available to individual investigators or small groups.

AMO scientists investigate how fundamental physical principles determine the structure and behavior of light and matter. They use precision optical instruments, many of which are designed and built at JILA, to probe atoms and molecules and study the flow of energy through molecular systems.

Education & Outreach

AMO strongly endorses top-quality science education and efforts to bring science concepts out of the research lab and into local schools and the larger community. It supports the University of Colorado's education research team's research-based initiative to advance physics and chemistry education at the university and high-school levels.

CU graduate and undergraduate students as well as AMO scientists visit local schools with hands-on science activities. Many professors present CU Wizards shows, engaging and informative one-hour Saturday morning presentations that are free and designed for elementary and middle school students and their families. The Center also supports CU's physics education research group. The group has developed the Colorado Learning and Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS), which is used to study the impact of classes on student beliefs about science. A series of Science Sketches, articles that explain the Center’s groundbreaking research in terms everyone can understand, is available on the website.

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  • blue laser in optical atomic clock
JILA's strontium optical atomic clock is the world's most accurate clock based on neutral atoms.
Sebastian Blatt, JILA, Univ. of Colorado