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Quantum Physics Division

The Division performs experimental and theoretical research and innovation advancing fundamental measurement science through quantum optics, quantum degenerate gases of atoms and molecules, quantum many-body physics, chemical physics, biophysics, and nanoscale quantum science.

In particular, the Division:

  • Is the NIST part of JILA, the joint research and training institute between NIST and the University of Colorado. Division scientists participate fully in University activities including research, teaching, and University service.
  • Develops innovative laser technologies for precision measurements and research, including ultrastable lasers and femtosecond laser frequency combs.
  • Expands the development, understanding and applications of quantum degenerate gases, including atomic Bose-Einstein and Fermi condensates, and quantum degenerate molecular gases.
  • Studies the foundations of quantum many-body physics in multiple complex systems.
  • Develops precision measurement tools and technologies, including optical atomic clocks and precision spectroscopy of trapped ions, for a broad range of practical applications and for exploration of fundamental physics.
  • Characterizes chemical processes and their interactions with nanostructures.
  • Performs research and precision measurements on large biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids.
  • Explores the quantum interactions between optical, electrical and micromechanical systems for research and precision measurements, including quantum transductions.


vacuum manifold
Credit: G. Cooksey/NIST

NIST has embarked on a sweeping program that will revolutionize measurement services and metrology by bringing them out of the lab and directly to the user. To that end, we are developing a suite of intrinsically accurate, quantum-based measurement technologies intended to be deployed nearly anywhere and anytime, performing uninterrupted without the need for NIST’s traditional measurement services.

Explore these items, as they become available, on the NIST-on-a-Chip Portal.

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