Physics at Virginia

Bob Jones

Ph.D., 1990, Virginia
Francis H. Smith Professor of Physics

Experimental Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics,Experimental Chemical Physics,Experimental Quantum Information

Research Interests

Much of the current research in atomic physics focuses on the use of extremely well-controlled electromagnetic fields to coherently manipulate the internal and external degrees of freedom of atoms. Jones and his students use lasers to cool and trap atoms, to spin molecules in order to align their axes along a particular direction in the laboratory, and to drive electrons within atoms and molecules in particular directions at specific times. These optical techniques serve as tools which allow them to view very fast processes within atoms and molecules and to perform experiments exploring controlled interactions between atoms and between electrons within atoms. Some of their experiments exploit the extremely slow motion and extreme electric-field sensitivity of electrons in highly excited Rydberg atoms. Others utilize very intense, extremely brief, pulsed laser fields which can rip electrons from their parent ions and then drive them back and forth as probes of the atomic or molecular potential. Current projects include: the control and observation of time-dependent electron-electron interactions within atoms; the manipulation and exploration of dipole-dipole and few-body interactions in cold Rydberg gases; laser induced, field-free alignment and orientation of molecules; controlled dissociation and ionization of molecules in strong asymmetric laser fields; attosecond electron wavepackets as probes of molecular potentials; and high-harmonic generation from molecules; interaction of intense, ultrashort THz and laser pulses with nano-structures.

Selected Publications

Aderonke S. Folorunso, Adam Bruner, François Mauger, Kyle A. Hamer, Samuel Hernandez, Robert R. Jones, Louis F. DiMauro, Mette B. Gaarde, Kenneth J. Schafer, and Kenneth Lopata, “Molecular Modes of Attosecond Charge Migration,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 126, 133002 (2021).

C. He and R.R. Jones, “Directional Population Control Beyond the Exceptional Point in a Non-Hermitian System,” Phys. Rev. A 104, 013111 (2021).

Péter Sándor, Adonay Sissay, François Mauger, Mark W. Gordon, Timothy T. Gorman, Timothy D. Scarborough, Mette B. Gaarde, Kenneth Lopata, Kenneth J. Schafer, and Robert R. Jones, “Angle-dependent Strong-Field Ionization of Halomethanes,” J. Chem. Phys. 151, 194308 (2019).

D. Kiesewetter, R.R. Jones, A. Camper, S.B. Schoun, P. Agostini, and L.F. DiMauro, "Probing Electronic Binding Potentials with Attosecond Photoelectron Wavepackets," Nature Physics 14, 68-73 (2018).

Sha Li and R.R. Jones, “High-Energy Electron Emission from Metallic Nano-tips Driven by Intense Single-Cycle THz Pulses,” Nature Communications 7, 13405 (2016).

Tao Zhou, B.G. Richards, and R.R. Jones, “Absence of Collective Decay in a Cold Rydberg Gas,” Physical Review A 93, 033407 (2016).

K. Egodapitiya, Sha Li, and R.R. Jones, “THz Induced Field-Free Orientation of Rotationally Excited Molecules,” Physical Review Letters 112, 103002 (2014).

Sha Li and R.R. Jones, “Ionization of Excited Atoms by Intense Single-Cycle THz Pulses,” Physical Review Letters 112, 143006 (2014).

X. Zhang, R.R. Jones, and F. Robicheaux, “Time-dependent Electron Interactions in Double-Rydberg Wave Packets,” Physical Review Letters 110, 023002 (2013).

Boris Bergues, Matthias Kübel, Nora G. Johnson, Bettina Fischer, Nicolas Camus, Kelsie J. Betsch, Oliver Herrwerth, Arne Senftleben, A. Max Sayler, Tim Rathje, Itzik Ben-Itzhak, Robert R. Jones, Gerhard G. Paulus, Ferenc Krausz, Robert Moshammer, Joachim Ullrich, and Matthias F. Kling, “Attosecond Control and Real-Time Observation of Electron Correlations,” Nature Communications 3, 813 (2012).

M.R. Kutteruf and R.R. Jones, "Probing Electronic Coherence in a Gas of Dipole-Dipole Coupled Rydberg Atoms," Physical Review Letters 108, 013001 (2012).

K.J. Betsch, D.W. Pinkham, and R.R. Jones, "Directional Emission of Multiply-Charged Ions During Dissociative Ionization in Asymmetric Two-Color Laser Fields," Physical Review Letters 105, 223002 (2010).

Brett A. Sickmiller and R.R. Jones, “Effects of Phase-Matching on High Harmonic Generation from Aligned N2," Physical Review A 80, 031802(R) (2009).

M. L. Wall, F. Robicheaux, and R.R. Jones, “Controlling Atom Motion Through the Dipole-Dipole Force,” Journal of Physics B 40, 3693, (2007).

R.S. Minns, M.R. Kutteruf, H. Zaidi, L. Ko and R.R. Jones, “Preserving Coherence in Rydberg Quantum Bits,” Physical Review Letters 97, 040504 (2006).

S.N. Pisharody and R.R. Jones, “2-Electron Dynamics of an Atom,” Science 303, 813 (2004).

M.J. DeWitt, E. Wells, and R.R. Jones, “Ratiometric Comparison of Intense Field Ionization of Atoms and Diatomic Molecules,” Physical Review Letters 87, 153001 (2001).

R.R. Jones and L.D. Noordam, "Electronic Wavepackets," in Advances in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics 38, 1 (1997).

R.R. Jones, "Creating and Probing Electronic Wavepackets Using Half-Cycle Pulses," Physical Review Letters 76, 3927 (1996).

News Items

UVaToday interviewed Prof. Robert Jones regarding this years Physics Nobel Prize Award.  As noted by UVaToday, Prof. Jones' research has some overlap with the Nobel recipients’ ......More >
Electronic processes and electron-driven reactions in atoms, molecules and condensed ......More >
Bob Jones has been elected Vice Chair of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) starting in June. This is a four year service commitment to the division with ......More >


APS Outstanding Referee [2008]
APS Fellow [2000]

For the development of experimental probes of Rydberg atoms and for providing new insights about their behavior.

David and Lucile Packard Fellow [1996]
Office of Naval Research Young Investigator [1994]