[PAST EVENT] Megan Kathleen Ivory, Physics - Oral Exam for the Ph.D.

September 4, 2015
10am - 1pm
Small Hall, Room 122
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Quantum pumping is a method of transporting particles through a circuit without an external applied voltage or chemical potential, but instead with localized time-varying potentials. Ballistic quantum pumping has been theorized in mesoscopic solid state systems, but experimental verifications have been challenging due to the capacitive coupling and rectification inherent to electronic systems. Using ultracold neutral atoms to test and verify the theoretical predictions of quantum pumping reduces these challenges while providing the advantages of easy confinement and manipulation, a high degree of coherence, and bosons as well as fermions. In addition, ultracold atoms allow smooth tunability between classical thermal gases and quantum gases. Here, we design, build, characterize, and optimize a dual-species experimental apparatus capable of quantum pumping experiments with Bose-Einstein condensates on an atom chip. We produce quasi-pure 87Rb Bose-Einstein condensates of 104 atoms and successfully laser-cool 39K. We lay the experimental groundwork for quantum pumping experiments with ultracold atoms and characterize the classical dynamics of the system. These classical dynamics are supported with theoretical modeling that we have developed to compare the dramatic differences between the classical and quantum results of a double barrier turnstile pump as well as its single barrier building blocks.

Megan Ivory grew up in the woods of Sidman, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. After participating in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at William & Mary, she began graduate studies where she worked with Dr. Seth Aubin to produce the university's first ultracold atoms. Her research focused on development of a chip-based apparatus for quantum pumping demonstrations as well as classical simulations of pumping. Upon completion of her research, Megan began working at ColdQuanta, the first and only company to specialize in ultracold matter technology.