Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Spotlight: Alejandra Collopy's Exploration of the Quantum World

woman makes adjustments to optics on a laser bench
Credit: A. Collopy/NIST

It’s the little things that make all the difference for NIST postdoctoral researcher Alejandra Collopy ... and by little, we mean quantum. She’s part of a team making strides in our understanding of the strange quantum world.

Alejandra and her team have been creating, trapping and probing charged calcium hydride molecules to understand changes in their rotational state by using a technique called quantum logic spectroscopy. While trapping atomic ions is a widespread practice these days, doing the same for molecular ions is still relatively uncharted territory.

These techniques could change that, and promise broad applications to more molecules. The more they dig, the more they’ll learn, and it’s that sense of discovery that charges up her team for more research every day.  

Alejandra always held a desire to know how things work and found a home in freshman physics classes at Stanford University, then at the University of Colorado Boulder and JILA for her graduate studies into neutral molecules. Fast forward to 2020, two years into her postdoctoral associateship at NIST, and she’s had a decade’s worth of background in molecules (neutral and charged) added to her resume.  

And we know where her sense of discovery and passion for our world’s inner workings will take her next. Alejandra’s work with NRC Research Associateship Programs ended just a few weeks ago. Now, she’s joining a group of researchers at NIST on the other side of quantum studies, exploring computing and the ways of producing reliable results for logic operations.  

It’s good to have Alejandra on the charge toward our quantum-powered future.  

Follow us on social media for more like this from all across NIST!

Released September 21, 2020, Updated March 17, 2021