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Fundamental Quantum Physics Lab Peter Engels

Welcome to the Fundamental Quantum Physics Lab at WSU

The research in the Fundamental Quantum Physics lab is aimed at the experimental investigation of ultracold, quantum degenerate atomic gases for studying fundamental quantum physics. When a cloud of atoms is cooled to ultra-low temperatures (in the nano-Kelvin regime) and enters quantum degeneracy, the matter-wave characteristic of atoms becomes apparent and leads to peculiar dynamics. Bosons can form a new state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), while fermions form an equally intriguing degenerate Fermi gas (DFG). The experimental realization of ultracold quantum gases has revolutionized the way in which the quantum mechanical foundation of nature can be studied and harnessed in the laboratory.  To see what we have been up to recently, please see our News page!

Theoretical research in this area at WSU is performed in the group of Prof. Michael Forbes and Prof. Qingze Guan.

Research Opportunity: 

Photo copyright David Patterson (2013)

A bit about us:



May . June  2024
Our manuscript on the observation of momentum space Josephson effects has now appeared in Physical Review letters with an Editor’s Suggestion (linked here).

Our observation of dense collisional soliton complexes has appeared in Communications Physics (linked here).

April, 2024
It’s been a successful semester for our group! Congratulations to Colby Schimelfenig for winning a NASA Space Grant Fellowship in Physics, a Graduate Research Assistant Excellence Award, and a William J. Shelton Scholarship! And congratulations to Jacob Pierson for winning a Leo Millam Undergraduate Research Scholarship and an Office of Undergraduate Research Fellowship!

March 6, 2024

Congratulations to Annesh Mukhopadhyay for winning second prize at the College of Arts and Sciences 3 Minute Thesis (CAS 3MT) competition!!! Well done!

June 2023

Welcome to Nick Tanaka who is joining our group over the summer as an REU student! Nick is working on an actively stabilized injection locked laser system. He is building some nice electronics and enjoys testing the lasers system.

April 11, 2023

Congratulations to Annesh Mukhopadhyay for winning a GPSA Excellence Award! Well deserved. And we enjoyed good food and company at the award ceremony.

March 30, 2023

Today we have been honored to welcome President Schulz to our lab! It has been a great pleasure for us to show him our lab and to discuss with him. We sincerely thank him for his time and his interest in our work! It was a fantastic visit.

March 30, 2023

Annesh presented a poster describing our research at the WSU Academic Showcase today. This was a presentation to the general WSU community. Lots of people stopped by to learn about quantum science, and it was a great pleasure for us to showcase our work.

February 14, 2023

Welcome to Judith Gonzales Sorribes who is visiting us for a week to take data and perform research in our lab! Judith is visiting us from the University of San Diego, where she is working in the Quantum Hydrodynamics Lab led by Prof. Maren Mossman. We are very happy to host her visit and thankful for the blue sky and sunshine she seems to have brought along from San Diego.

July 29, 2022

After having done some great work in our group, Jennifer presented her results at a WSU Research Symposium today. This completes her REU program. We wish her good luck for the future and we hope to see her again at some point! It’s been a lot of fun to have her in our group.

May 24, 2022

Welcome to Jennifer Lopez who is working with us over the summer as an REU student! Jennifer will be working on some ultracool experiments involving Rb Bose-Einstein condensates.

February 9, 2022

Congratulations to Colby Schimelfenig for being awarded a NASA Space Grant Scholarship! Colby is working on the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) experiment, which is a BEC apparatus installed on the International Space Station ISS. In this project, the Engels group at WSU is working together with researchers at JILA / University of Colorado and the University of San Diego, and with a  team of scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL, Pasadena). Our goal is to exploit the unique features of a microgravity environment for the study of quantum mechanical few body physics.

For more info on CAL click here!

December 10, 2021

We are excited to see that our study of gravitational caustics in an atom laser has appeared in Nature Communications online today.

Click here for the paper!

WSU also wrote a brief news article on it, linked here.

December 9, 2021

Our former group member Maren Mossman, now the Clare Boothe Luce assistant professor of physics at the University of San Diego, has been on TV tonight! She is advocating for women and minorities in STEM and for the Clare Boothe Luce Physics Identity Program that she is building. Congrats and yells of “Way to go!”

Click here for the video clip on the webpage!


November 18, 2021

We had a fantastic time in the lab with Richard Scalettar who has been visiting us from UC Davis! It’s been a lot of fun to chat with him. Thank you immensely for your gift of time and energy!

August 17, 2021

It has been a great pleasure for us to give a lab tour for Richard-Duane Chambers and Mary Guenther, Senior & Professional Staff Member for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee! We sincerely appreciate their interest, and we had a fantastic time discussing about quantum science and technology with them.

P. Engels, R.-D. Chambers, M. Guenther, B. Saam in the Fundamental Quantum Physics lab at WSU

For more news, see here.