Fostering Collaborative Research in Physics & Engineering

HEPL, founded in 1947 as Stanford's first Independent Laboratory, provides facilities and administrative structure enabling faculty to do research that spans across the boundaries of a single department or school—for example: physics & engineering or physics & biology/medicine. The Independent Laboratory concept, in many ways unique to Stanford, facilitates world-class research and teaching.
For more information about HEPL research, see the Research page.

News in Brief

South Pole Keck Observatory telescopes

BICEP2 telescope (foreground) and
the South Pole Telescope
( background). Photo: Steffen Richter,
Harvard University

March 17, 2014

Detection of Gravitational Waves by HEPL/SLAC Professor Chao-Lin Kuo and Colleagues of the BICEP2 Experiment, Supports the Cosmic Inflation Theory of Stanford Physicist Andrei Linde

Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the Big Bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of today's best telescopes. All this, of course, has just been theory.

Researchers from the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) collaboration today announced the first direct evidence supporting this theory, known as "cosmic inflation." Their data also represent the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. These waves have been described as the "first tremors of the Big Bang." Finally, the data confirm a deep connection between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

"This is really exciting. We have made the first direct image of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time across the primordial sky, and verified a theory about the creation of the whole universe," said Chao-Lin Kuo, an assistant professor of physics at Stanford/HEPL and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and a co-leader of the BICEP2 collaboration. Read Full Story...

New HEPL Director Sarah Church

Atomic clock winners of the 2014
Rank ptoelectronics Prize
(Left-Right) : Lord Selborne (Rank
Prize Committee), Stanford Physics
Professor Leo Hollberg, Dr. Svenja
Knappe (NIST), Dr. John Kitching
(NIST) and Lord Waldegrave
(Rank Prize Committee)

February 10, 2014

HEPL Physicist, Leo Hollberg, and Two Former NIST Colleagues Share 2014 Rank Optoelectronics Prize for Their Development of Chip-Scale Atomic Clock

On February 10, 2014, Stanford/HEPL physics Professor, Leo Hollberg, flew to London to join his former colleagues, Dr. Svenja Knappe and Dr. John Kitching from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in accepting a £45,000 ($75,000) 2014 Optoelectronics Prize from the Rank Foundation.

The prize, which the three physicists shared equally, was awarded for their pioneering work together from 2001 - 2005 in the NIST Atomic Devices and Instrumentation (ADI) Group in developing a chip-scale atomic clock with a volume below 10 mm3 running on 75 mW of power.

The Rank Prize Funds is a charitable organisation which seeks to recognize excellence and reward innovators for their dedication and outstanding contribution in twospecific fields of research:

  • Nutrition (Human and Animal Nutrition and Crop Husbandry)
  • Optoelectronics (The interface between optics and electronics and nearly related phenomena)

The Rank Prize Funds were established in England by Lord and Lady Rank in February 1972.The two areas of research covered by The Rank Prize Funds—human and animal nutrition and crop husbandry, and optoelectronics—relate to the fields into which Lord Rank's career led him: flour milling and the film industry. Full Story...