Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Nanoscale Atomic Density Microscopy



Sarthak Subhankar, Yang Wang, Tsz-Chun Tsui, Steven Rolston, James V. Porto


Quantum simulations with ultracold atoms typically create atomic wavefunctions with structure at optical length scales, where direct imaging suffers from the diffraction limit. In analogy to advances in optical microscopy for biological applications, we use a non-linear atomic response to surpass the diffraction limit. Exploiting quantum interference, we demonstrate imaging with superresolution of λ/100 and excellent temporal resolution of 500 ns. We characterize our microscope’s performance by measuring the ensemble averaged wavefunction of atoms within the unit cells of an optical lattice, and observe the dynamics of atoms excited into periodic motion. This approach can be readily applied to image any atomic or molecular system, as long as it hosts a threelevel system.
Physical Review X
Created April 1, 2019, Updated October 29, 2019