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.

Quantum Physics Division

The Division performs collaborative experimental and theoretical research and innovation advancing fundamental measurement science through quantum information science, quantum-enhanced precision measurement, ultracold atoms and molecules, quantum many-body physics, chemical physics, biophysics, and nanoscale quantum science. A major focus is training of new innovators and scientific leaders for industry, national labs, and academia.

The NIST Quantum Physics Division is the NIST part of JILA, the joint research and training institute between NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder. Division scientists participate fully in University activities including research, teaching, and University service.

Major Programs and Projects

  • Control of quantum systems for applications in quantum simulation, computing, sensing and networking. Several unique approaches to studying quantum many-body physics. Physical platforms include: ultracold atoms in optical lattices, optical tweezer arrays, and optical cavities; ultracold molecules in optical lattices; superconducting circuits and nano-fabricated opto-electro-mechanical devices.
  • Record breaking optical atomic clocks for future time standards, precision measurement of gravity, and searches for new fundamental physics
  • Quantum transduction between electrical and optical domains
  • New medical diagnostics based on optical frequency comb technology
  • Superconducting circuits to overcome quantum noise limitations in searches for physics beyond the standard model, including the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
  • Optical tweezer arrays for large-scale qubit architectures
  • Record-breaking electron Electric Dipole Moment measurements in a search for beyond Standard Model physics (a fundamental asymmetry in Nature).
  • Precision measurement techniques (atomic force microscopy, optical traps, laser spectroscopy, quantum optics, and fluorescent proteins) often with single molecules, addressing outstanding questions in biology and chemistry.

News and Updates


2022 - Gold Medal Award---Jun Ye

For the most precise measurement of the gravitational redshift using optical atomic clocks, further confirming Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

Press Coverage