A physicist with equally impressive credentials in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, Emily Davis worked for a year in Immanuel Bloch’s quantum physics lab in Munich, Germany. Her cross-discipline and cross-continent experience now finds her building a new atomic physics experiment at Stanford University. The experiment consists of two facing mirrors, a cloud of rubidium atoms trapped between them, and a laser beam that reflects thousands of times mirror to mirror. The laser beam frequency corresponds to a difference in the energy levels of the rubidium atoms so they can be manipulated using the beam. The atoms’ interaction with the light entangles them.
Emily’s work seeks to understand the degree of entanglement and to maximize it for improved sensitivity to an electro-magnetic field. Potential applications could create more nuanced MRIs, and better mapping of electrical currents created by brain activity, and more sensitive measurements of geomagnetic fields for earthquake prediction. Entangled atoms also could be used to improve the sensitivity of atomic clocks. Oscillations of the cesium 133 atom determine the international standard for defining the length of a single second, important in all satellite GPS devices which serve precision weapons, and cell phones for fast transmission of all data, and much more in the 21st Century.
“In high school I considered going into medicine, but I now realize that physicists have high-impact careers. From radar sensing to lasers to bio-research, physicists create applications that make a difference across a vast arena to drive new technologies.”