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Benjamin Lev

Benjamin Lev
Professor of Physics and Applied Physics
Research Areas:
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics
Condensed Matter Physics
Quantum Sensing, Simulation & Computation
Description of Interests

LevLab is a joint AMO & CM experimental group that explores the question:  Can new classes of states and phases of quantum matter be created far away from equilibrium, and if so, what do we learn?  We use our new technique, confocal cavity QED, to both engineer out-of-equilibrium quantum gases and 2D materials and to image and control their new properties.  

Specifically, we aim to:

  • Create and control new forms of highly excited quantum matter using cavity photons coupled to 1D gases of the most magnetic atom, dysprosium;
  • `Wire together' nodes of atomic spins with photons to create novel spin glasses and the quantum neural networks they realize;
  • Use our novel `CavMat' instrument to control electronic excitations of twisted 2D quantum materials with the goal to shape control their phase diagrams.

We welcome all curious experiment and theory grad students and postdocs to visit our website and contact Prof. Lev.


Academic Positions

  • Full Professor, Departments of Physics and Applied Physics; Member of Ginzton Laboratory and Executive Committee of QFARM, Stanford University, 2022 - 
  • Associate Professor, Departments of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University 2015 -
  • Assistant Professor, Departments of Applied Physics and Physics (by courtesy), Stanford University 2011 - 2015
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2008-2011
  • NRC Postdoc, Group of Jun Ye, JILA & NIST 2006-2007


  • Ph.D. Caltech, Physics, 2005
  • A.B. Princeton, Physics, Magna Cum Laude, 1999

Honors & Awards

  • 2021    Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2021    Editorial Board of Physical Review X
  • 2020    Defense Science Study Group (IDA & DAPRA)
  • 2015    Chambers Fellowship
  • 2014    Terman Fellowship
  • 2012    DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA)
  • 2012    Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (YIP)
  • 2011    Terman Fellowship (Stanford)
  • 2010    Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
  • 2010    Packard Fellowship
  • 2008    National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • 2008    Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (YIP)
  • 2004    Everhart Distinguished Graduate Student Lectureship
  • 1999    Allen Goodrich Schenstone Prize for Outstanding Work in Experimental Physics, Department of Physics, Princeton University

Full CV

Selected Publications

See here for complete list.

Y. Guo, R. M. Kroeze, B. P. Marsh, S. Gopalakrishnan, J. Keeling, and B. L. Lev
An optical lattice with sound
Nature 599, 211 (2021).  link to pdf
Featured in Stanford News:  Adding sound to quantum simulations

B. P. Marsh, Y. Guo, R. M. Kroeze, S. Gopalakrishnan, S. Ganguli, J. Keeling, and B. L. Lev
Enhancing associative memory recall and storage capacity using confocal cavity QED
Physical Review X 11, 021048 (2021).
arXiv:2009.01227  pdf

W. Kao, K.-Y. Li, K.-Y. Lin, S. Gopalakrishnan, and B. L. Lev
Topological pumping of a 1D dipolar gas into strongly correlated prethermal states​
Science 371, 296 (2021).  pdf & SM
Featured in Stanford News:  Stanford physicists find new state of matter in a one-dimensional quantum gas  pdf
arXiv:2002.10475  pdf

F. Yang, S. F. Taylor, S. D. Edkins, J. Palmstrom, I. R. Fisher, and B. L. Lev
Nematic Transitions in Iron-Pnictide Superconductors Imaged with a Quantum Gas
Nature Physics 16, 514 (2020). pdf
Featured in News & Views in Nature Physcis 16, 506 by James Analytis: "Cooking with quantum gas"  pdf
Featured in in article by Ingrid Fadelli: "Imaging nematic transitions in iron pnictide superconductorspdf
arXiv:1907.12601  pdf

Y. Guo, R. M. Kroeze, V. D. Vaidya, J. Keeling, and B. L. Lev
Sign-changing photon-mediated atom interactions in multimode cavity QED
Physical Review Letters 122, 193601 (2019).  pdf
Selected for Editors' Suggestion
Featured in Physics Synopsis: A Step Toward Simulating Spin Glasses.  pdf

Y. Tang, W. Kao, K.-Y. Li, S. Seo, K. Mallayya, M. Rigol, S. Gopalakrishnan, and B. L. Lev
Thermalization near integrability in a dipolar quantum Newton's cradle
Physical Review X 8, 021030 (2018).
See Editors' Choice Watching magnetic atoms thermalize in Science
See News: Quantum Physics A tiny version of this physics toy is revealing quantum secrets in ScienceNews
See Synopsis Pathway to Quantum Thermalization in APS Physics
See Research Highlight Towards thermalization in Nature Physics
See Article Toy inspires experiment on behavior of quantum systems in Stanford News 
arXiv:1707.07031 pdf

V. D. Vaidya, Y. Guo, R. M. Kroeze, K. E. Ballantine, A. J. Kollár, J. Keeling, and B. L. Lev
Tunable-range, photon-mediated atomic interactions in multimode cavity QED​
Physical Review X 8, 011002 (2018).  pdf
Selected for a Viewpoint in APS Physics:
H. Türeci, A Multimode Dial for Interatomic Interactions, pdf

M. Lu, N. Q. Burdick, and B. L. Lev
Quantum Degenerate Dipolar Fermi Gas
Physical Review Letters 108, 215301 (2012). 
Selected as Editors' Suggestion and featured in Physics Viewpoint 

M. Lu, N. Q. Burdick, S.-H. Youn, and B. L. Lev
Strongly Dipolar Bose-Einstein Condensate of Dysprosium
Physical Review Letters 107, 190401 (2011).

S. Gopalakrishnan, B. L. Lev, and P. Goldbart
Frustration and glassiness in spin models with cavity-mediated interactions
Physical Review Letters 107, 277201 (2011)pdf

S. Gopalakrishnan, B. L. Lev, and P. Goldbart
Emergent crystallinity and frustration with Bose-Einstein condensates in multimode cavities
Nature Physics 5, 845 - 850 (2009).
Nature Physics News and Views article by Helmut Ritsch.
arXiv:cond-mat/0903.2254 pdf