The traditional view of a plasma as a hot gas has changed, due to the recent advances on laser cooling and trapping techniques. Cold atomic gases confined in magneto-optical traps can be ionized, leading to the creation of very cold plasmas, with ion temperatures in the mili-kelvin range, and electron temperatures below 1 kelvin. This strongly contrasts with the usual concept of a plasma medium as a very hot gas, with electron temperatures of the order or higher than the energy of ionization, which is typically of a few electron-Volt. This also extends the domain of application of plasma physics into a quite new direction. By creating the Laboratory for Quantum Plasmas inside IPFN, we propose to explore this new area of plasma physics, to built-up a coherent theoretical and experimental framework, and to explore new phenomenology by taking a leading role in this area of science at the international level.
Nonetheless, quantum and ultracold plasmas are just one edge of the spectrum of the physics of ultra cold matter. We focus our research on other topics, such as non linear optics and interaction of cold Rydberg atoms, quantum gases and Bose-Einstein condensates, etc, which often serve as a tool to investigate some of the most fundamental concepts of physics. Also, we devote part of our research to stablish both experimental and theoretical knowledge on the emergent area of quantum information and quantum technologies.