The atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics community at Stanford spans the departments of Physics, Applied Physics, and Electrical Engineering.  Browse our site to learn about research groups, events, and more.

Upcoming Events

Andrei Derevianko (University of Nevada, Reno)
Search for ultralight dark matter with GPS and networks of precision measurement tools
Monday, November 7, 2016
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: Spilker 232
John Kitching (NIST)
Chip-scale Atomic Devices: Miniature Precision Instruments using Atoms, Lasers and MEMS
Monday, December 5, 2016
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Spilker 232
We describe recent work at NIST to develop precision instruments based on atomic spectroscopy, advanced semiconductor lasers and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). These millimeter-scale instruments achieve take their high stability or sensitivity from the use of atomic spectroscopy, but have considerably reduced power consumption and potentially reduced manufacturing cost compared to their larger counterparts. Physics packages for atomic frequency references with fractional frequency stabilities in the range of 10-11 over one hour have been demonstrated. Using similar device designs and processing, magnetometers with sensitivities below 10 fT/Hz have been demonstrated, making them competitive with commercial SQUID-based sensors without the need for cryogenic cooling. The design, fabrication and performance of these instruments will be described, as well as a number of applications to which the devices are well-suited. Finally, we speculate on possible future directions for chip-scale atomic instrumentation with a focus on the use of laser-cooled atomic samples and tools for fundamental metrology.


Dr. John Kitching received his PhD. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1995. Since 2003, he has been a physicist in the Time and Frequency Division at NIST and currently is the Leader of the Atomic Devices and Instrumentation Group in NIST’s Physical Measurements Laboratory. His research interests include miniaturized atomic clocks and sensors and applications of semiconductor lasers and micromachining technology to problems in atomic physics and frequency control. Most recently, he and his group pioneered the development of microfabricated “chip-scale” atomic devices for use as frequency references, magnetometers and other sensors. He is a Fellow of NIST and has received a number of awards for his work including the Department of Commerce Silver and Gold Medals, the 2015 IEEE Sensors Council Technical Achievement Award, the 2016 IEEE-UFFC Rabi Award and the prestigious 2013 Rank Prize. He has published over 80 papers in refereed journals, has given numerous invited and plenary talks and has been awarded six patents.

Full calendar