2013 Faraday medal

Professor E A Hinds, Centre for Cold Matter, Imperial College London. For his innovative and seminal experimental investigations into ultra-cold atoms and molecules.

Ed Hinds is a world leader in the area of cold atoms and molecules and their use in making fundamental measurements in atomic systems. His career has been devoted to developing new techniques and approaches that explore the physics of atoms and molecules. Perhaps most significant is his long-term quest to measure the electric dipole moment (edm) of the electron, which gives important information about the way that matter behaves on the most fundamental level. Hinds has recently completed a world-leading measurement of the electron edm, and is already actively working towards a more accurate measurement, with improved apparatus.

In recent years he has pioneered on-chip integration of cold atom physics, most prominently demonstrated by creating a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) on a permanent-magnet chip. Moreover, he has now developed atom interferometry using a BEC on a chip for measuring gravitational forces and accelerations, as well as searching for new forces between atoms and surfaces. He has learned how to microfabricate optical cavities on a chip, and use them to manipulate single ultra-cold atoms and single photons.

Hinds was also among the first to try to make a quantum gas of molecules rather than atoms. His group has already made mK molecular clouds, which have immediate applications in chemistry and perhaps in biology too. He is now trapping them so that they can be cooled further. Ultra-cold polar molecules should be ideal for quantum computing and they also have a particularly important application to elementary particle physics which Hinds has pioneered. A successful marriage is now underway between his techniques for cooling of molecules and the edm experiment, opening up dramatic improvements this experiment, with important consequences for theories that describe the fundamental structure of matter.