Skip to main content

Will Raven

Professor of Physics

Will Williams


McConnell Hall 312


Publishing name: W.D. Williams

Prof. Raven’s research is in experimental cold atom physics.  His current project is high precision spectroscopy of light atoms as tests of quantum electrodynamics (QED).

Prof. Raven received dual B.S. degrees—one in physics and one in mathematics—from Clarkson University. He went on to a fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he got his doctorate in experimental cold atom physics.  After getting his Ph.D., Raven became a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, which is located outside Chicago and managed by the Department of Energy.  Next, he took a second postdoc position at Old Dominion University.  During his two postdocs, Raven designed, built and ran experiments at many different facilities around the country, including the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA), the free electron laser at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory and NASA.

His current research is making high precision measurements in light atoms as tests of one of physics most fundamental theories, quantum electrodynamics.  His experimental research lab has lots of lasers, vacuum equipment, and floating optical tables.  If you'd like to know more about his research or see if there are any available opportunities for research in his lab, please send him an email:

Click here for a short video of Professor Raven's research
Update: The above video talks about spectroscopy in beryllium.  The lab is currently doing spectroscopy in beryllium, oxygen, and nitrogen.

In addition, he is writing a book titled "An Introduction to High Precision Spectroscopy", which is designed to teach atomic physics with no College level prerequisites.  The book will be published open access through Springer in the fall of 2023.

2021 – National Science Foundation (PHY-2110311)
2016 – National Science Foundation Early CAREER award (PHY-1555232)
2014 – National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant (PHY-1428112)

Recent papers: *indicates student author

M.T. Herd, C. Maruko,* M.M. Herzog,* A. Brand,* G. Cannon,* B. Duah,* N. Hollin,* T. Karani,* A. Wallace,* M. Whitmore,* and W.D. Williams“Spectroscopic study of the 4f7 6s2 8S7/2 - 4f7 (8S)6s6p (1P) 8P9/2 transition in neutral europium-151 and europium-153: absolute frequency and hyperfine structure,”  Journal of the Optical Society of America B, 39, 9 (2022)

M. T. Herd, E. C. Cook, and W. D. Williams, “Absolute frequency measurement of the 6D5/2 level of neutral 133Cs using two-photon spectroscopy”, Physical Review A 104, 042812 (2021)

W.D. Williams, M.T. Herd, E.C. Cook, “Pulsed triple frequency modulation for frequency stabilization and control of two lasers to an optical cavity”, Review of Scientific Instruments 91, 085116 (2020)

E.C. Cook, A.D. Vira,* W.D. Williams, “Resonant two-photon spectroscopy of the 2s3d 1D2 level of neutral 9Be”, Physical Review A 101, 042503 (2020)

E.C. Cook, A.D. Vira,* C. Patterson,* E. Livernois,* and W.D. Williams, “Testing quantum electrodynamics in the lowest singlet state of neutral beryllium-9”, Physical Review Letters 121, 053001 (2018)

 A.L. Win, W.D. Williams, T. Carroll, and C.I. Sukenik, “Catalysis of Stark-tuned interactions between ultracold Rydberg atoms,” Physics Review A 98, 032703 (2018)

 W.D. Williams, M.-T. Herd, and W.B. Hawkins “Spectroscopic study of the 7p1/2 and 7p3/2 states in cesium-133: Hyperfine structure and absolute energy,” Laser Physics Letters 15 (9), 095702 (2018)

 C. Patterson,* A.D. Vira,* M.-T. Herd, W.B. Hawkins, and W.D. Williams, “Calibrating an ultra-low expansion cavity for high precision spectroscopy from 439.6 nm – 475.7 nm using molecular tellurium lines,” Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 033107 (2018)


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison
B.S., Clarkson University

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks