Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Front Cover

The goals of atomic, molecular, and optical physics (AMO physics) are to elucidate the fundamental laws of physics, to understand the structure of matter and how matter evolves at the atomic and molecular levels, to understand light in all its manifestations, and to create new techniques and devices. AMO physics provides theoretical and experimental methods and essential data to neighboring areas of science such as chemistry, astrophysics, condensed-matter physics, plasma physics, surface science, biology, and medicine. It contributes to the national security system and to the nation's programs in fusion, directed energy, and materials research. Lasers and advanced technologies such as optical processing and laser isotope separation have been made possible by discoveries in AMO physics, and the research underlies new industries such as fiber-optics communications and laser-assisted manufacturing. These developments are expected to help the nation to maintain its industrial competitiveness and its military strength in the years to come. This report describes the field, characterizes recent advances, and identifies current frontiers of research.


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Summary 1
Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics in the United States Today 29
Recommendations 37
Relevance of Atomic Molecular and Optical Research to the Funding Agencies
Molecular Physics 88
Optical Physics 110
Scientific Interfaces 126
Plasma Physics 143
Applications of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics 151
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