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Michael N. Bishof

Assistant Physicist, Experimental


Michael Bishof is an Assistant Physicist in the Physics Division working in the Medium Energy Physics group and Argonne’s Trace Radioisotope Analysis CEnterR (TRACER) .  He joined the Medium Energy Physics Group in 2014 as a Director’s Fellow and contributed to the first ever measurement of the Electric Dipole Moment (EDM) of 225Ra.  Subsequently, he improved this measurement by over an order of magnitude. 

As a member of TRACER, Michael works to improve the atom trap trace analysis (ATTA) technique and expand its scientific impact.  By detecting rare isotopes of krypton in a magneto-optical trap, ATTA can determine the residence time of ground water and polar ice at time scales outside the range of radiocarbon dating.  TRACER recently built a second ATTA instrument to be able to process a greater number of environmental samples and to allow the original system to be used for research that will improve the ATTA technique.  Michael is currently investigating a new method to populate noble gas atoms into the metastable state that is required for laser trapping.  This work could dramatically improve the sensitivity of the ATTA technique.

Michael earned his PhD in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014.  He worked under the supervision of Prof. Jun Ye at JILA, a joint institute between the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  His thesis research centered on using ultracold, optical-lattice-trapped strontium atoms to develop the most stable and accurate clock and to study many-body physics.  As an essential prerequisite to both achievements, his work first established a thorough understanding of atomic interactions in strontium optical lattice clock (OLC) systems.  On one hand, interactions are an important systematic effect that needs to be understood with extremely high precision to advance clock performance.  On the other hand, the clock transition can be an extremely precise probe of subtle perturbations due to many-body interactions.  His work identified the many-body nature of interactions in strontium OLC systems and established the SU(10) symmetric nature of interactions among the 10 nuclear-spin sublevels in both ground and excited clock states.  This work paved the way for future studies of engineered quantum systems using trapped ultracold alkaline earth atoms.  In particular, Michael is interested in exploring the use of these systems as quantum simulators for nuclear physics systems that are poorly understood and difficult to model using classical computation techniques.