I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. My research broadly concerns the study of many-body phenomena using ultracold atomic gases. I am also a Fellow of St Catharine's College where I direct studies for 3rd and 4th year Physicists.


The first five years of my research career (PhD and two years of a St Catharine's Junior Research Fellowship) were spent investigating magnetism, superconductivity and quantum phase transitions in a conventional condensed matter setting of the Quantum Matter group in Cambridge. Then in 2008, recognising the potential for the study of many body physics, I decided to switch fields to study cold atomic gases. In 2012 I became a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

Current Research Interests

My current research focuses on the study of interacting homogeneous Bose gases and Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC). Until recently ultracold atom experiments were carried out in harmonic traps which result in an inhomogeneous density distribution which places limitations on the kind of many-body phenomena that they can be used to study. In 2013 we demonstrated trapping of ultracold atoms in a uniform box-like potential (see here), opening many new possibilities for closer connections between cold-atom experiments and both solid-state systems and textbook theories. The system uniformity is particularly important for studies of the critical phenomena near phase transitions, where the correlation length diverges. For example, we recently investigated the universal dynamics close to the BEC transition and the formation of domains in the ordered state. A relatively simple description of this process is provided by the Kibble-Zurek (KZ) theory, the central scaling result of which we were able to verify for the first time (see here).

We have now built a new experiment which will allow us to study a homogeneous Bose gas in which the strength of interactions can be tuned. This is achieved by using 39K atoms in which it possible tune the strength of the interactions simply by applying a magnetic field using something called a Feshbach resonance. We now plan to study the effect of interactions on both the thermodynamics and dynamics of a Bose gas. For example, despite being a topic of theoretical debate for more than half a century, the effect of weak interactions on the BEC transition temperature in homogeneous Bose gas has never been measured; our new experiment should make this possible.

PhD Opportunities

I am always on the lookout for good students so if you are interested then please contact me for details.

Website created by Alexander L. Gaunt 2015