Levitated Optomechanics Group

D'Urso Lab

We are a research group in the Department of Physics at Montana State University (MSU) in beautiful Bozeman, MT. We pursue new precision measurements and addresses fundamental physics questions using levitated optomechanics. We utilize microparticles and nanoparticles levitated in magnetic, optical, and Paul traps under vacuum to make sensitive measurements with controlled coupling to the environment. Two specific goals we are currently pursuing include fundamental tests of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity and a new approach to a precision measurement of the Newtonian gravitational constant G.

Montana State University is as remarkable as its setting. Created as a land-grant institution, it is a welcoming, adventurous community of students, faculty and staff distinguished by its commitment to address the world’s greatest challenges. The university energizes individuals to discover and pursue their aspirations. It inspires people to engage with the university to improve the human prospect through excellence in education, research, creativity and civic responsibility.

We are looking for passionate new Ph.D. students, master students, and undergraduates to join the team (more info) !

We are grateful for funding from Montana State University, the National Science Foundation, the II-VI Foundation Block-Gift Program, and the Montana NASA EPSCoR program.


November 16, 2021

Brian D'Urso is giving a talk as a Provost's Distinguished Lecturer in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies. It begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception at 8 p.m.

Summer 2021

We had a great summer with REU students Daniel Iron and Mario Duenas! Interested in joining us or another group in quantum, optical, or materials physics at MSU next summer? See MSU REU in Quantum and Materials Physics

July 1, 2021

Brian D'Urso has been promoted to Associate Professor of Physics at Montana State University!

January 27, 2021

Check out our demonstration of using a trapped particle as an accelerometer. See High-Sensitivity Accelerometry with a Feedback-Cooled Magnetically Levitated Microsphere.

December 21, 2020

Despite the pandemic, we've had a great year. Two group members made big advances in their careers: Charlie Lewandowski was awarded a prestigious NRC postoctoral fellowship and accepted a position at AFRL and Brad Slezak is now working at AdvR nearby in Bozeman. Cody Jessup and Dakota Chapman joined the group as new graduate students. We still have room for more students!


The D'Urso Lab has been continuing to work through the pandemic! Most presentations are on hold, but check back for updates on publications, group members, and more in the near future.

June 18, 2019

Our latest publication in Applied Physics Letters is featured as an AIP Scilight! See Creating a microsphere 'molecule' in a magneto-gravitational trap.

February 8, 2019

Brian D'Urso is giving the MSU Physics Colloquium, 'Probing Gravity with Optomechanics: A particle in a magneto-gravitational trap.'

January 10, 2019

We're giving a talk at SPIE Photonics West, 'Precision optomechanics with a particle in a magneto-gravitational trap.'

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