Tycho Sleator

1993 Fellow

Current Institution: New York University


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About Tycho Sleator's Work

For most of my career, I have been involved with atomic physics and condensed matter physics. As a graduate student, I discovered the phenomenon of “nuclear spin noise”. When nuclear spins are placed in a pickup coil connected to a resonant circuit, there was random noise in the coil due to fluctuations of the nuclear spins in the coil. This noise could be attributed to absorption and spontaneous emission of low frequency photons. As a postdoc, I was involved with experiments in which light, as well as mechanical structures was used to manipulate atoms. In particular, my colleagues and I built double-slit devices through which we passed neutral atoms, and observed interference effects (matter wave interferometry). At NYU, I did similar experiments involving interferometry with laser cooled clouds of atoms confined to a “magneto-optical trap.” My most recent experiments involved the first measurement of the “Nuclear Barnett Effect”. When one spins a sample of water, the nuclear spins (protons) become slightly aligned along the direction of rotation. One can then observe this nuclear polarization by using techniques from NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance).