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Wolfram Summer School

June 24–July 14, 2018
Bentley University, Waltham, MA


Milad Abou Dakka

Mentor: Jason Cawley/Jan Baetens


Class of 2016


Milad is currently in his first year of a PhD in physics at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing in Adelaide, Australia, where he is exploring the interaction between ultraviolet lasers and noble gases.

Before moving to Australia, Milad worked with Valydate, one of Deloitte's Technology Fast50 award winners, where he gained experience in hardware analysis and intelligent model creation. Milad graduated from electrical engineering and physics at Carleton University and from chemical engineering at McGill University.

Milad's vision of bridging environmental and commercial sustainability drove him to choose the subject of his current research project, "laser excitation of metastable noble gases."

Project: Density-Matrix Model of Laser-Atom Interaction: Analyzing Steady-State and Dynamic Behavior of Photonic State Transitions

In this project, I am investigating pathways of optical excitation for the purpose of developing the next generation of Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) [1–3]. ATTA is a technique used to accurately date samples of water and ice ranging between one year and one million years old using noble gas radionuclide tracers. For this and many other areas of research, it is of increasing interest to precisely manipulate the atomic levels of various materials using optical techniques [4]. If an atom is in its ground state, one may wish to excite this atom into an excited state, from which it may decay into a third state.

Although this project was motivated by noble gases such as argon and krypton, I will attempt to produce a template through which a user can simply input the type of element or molecule they are interested in optically manipulating, and which provides several possible combinations of energy transitions leading to the desired final state. The ability to select an optimal excitation pathway with minimal effort would save researchers time and allow them to make important decisions regarding their apparatus, such as using pulsed versus continuous-wave lasers, laser pulse sequencing [5] or single- or multi-photon excitation, as well as laser parameters such as wavelength, linewidth, repetition rate, etc.

Due to quantum selection rules, there may be more than one pathway to end up at this third state, so it is very important to compare the efficiencies of different pathways in order to decide which approach to follow, based on what current technologies are available. Therefore, the model will, given minimal initial information, calculate or predict which laser parameters to use and, conversely, will give a visualization of the effect of varying laser parameters on the behavior of the system.


[1] C. Y. Chen et al., "Ultrasensitive Isotope Trace Analyses with a Magneto-Optical Trap," Science, 286(5442), 1990 pp. 1139–1141.

[2] X. Du, "Realization of Radio-Krypton Dating with an Atom Trap," PhD dissertation, Evanston: Northwestern University, 2003 pp. 110.

[3] W. Jiang et al., "An Atom Counter for Measuring 81Kr and 85Kr in Environmental Samples," Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 91, 2012 pp. 1–6.

[4] Y. Ding et al., "Thermal Beam of Metastable Krypton Atoms Produced by Optical Excitation," Review of Scientific Instruments, 78, 2007.

[5] I. R. Solá, V. S. Malinovsky and D. J. Tannor, "Optimal Pulse Sequences for Population Transfer in Multilevel Systems," Physical Review A, 60(4), 1999 pp. 3081–3090.

Favorite 3-Color 2D Totalistic Cellular Automaton

Rule 1144469548

"Gone with the Wind": interesting behavior that resembles the formation of pine trees that move across a "grassy" patch.