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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R002061/1
Title: Atom-based Quantum Photonics
Principal Investigator: Hughes, Professor IG
Other Investigators:
Weatherill, Professor KJ Jones, Professor MPA Adams, Professor CS
Gardiner, Professor SA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 1,276,337
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Light-Matter Interactions Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 May 2017 Platform Grant Interviews - 23 May 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The goal of this Platform Grant is to provide underpinning support for a range of activities at the Durham node of the Joint Quantum Centre (JQC) Durham-Newcastle. These are in the general area of the interaction of atoms with electromagnetic radiation (in our case, mostly visible light and near infrared, extending into the ultraviolet, microwaves and terahertz). The physical systems we study consist of either gas atoms in a heated container, or atoms cooled with lasers to within a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. They offer perfect opportunities for the detailed study and exploitation of quantum mechanics, in an accessible and easily controllable way. In addition to using light to understand the behaviour of the atoms, we have taken advantage of numerous opportunities to make optical devices based on our expertise in atom-light interactions.

This Platform Grant will enable us to build on our existing strengths by bringing together individually successful research themes and techniques. This requires a hybrid approach where currently separate experimental themes are brought together, made to work simultaneously, and extended into the quantum regime. Our vision for this adventurous challenge is to develop novel techniques within the domain of atom-based quantum photonics, with the aim being to make and manipulate photons (the elementary particle, or quantum, of light).

The 21st century has witnessed an explosion of research activity into manipulating individual quantum entities (single atoms, single ions, single photons...). This theme was the subject of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, see http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2012/. One of the most significant breakthroughs is the realisation that the mysterious quantum property of entanglement in addition to being at the heart of Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" was also a resource for the emerging field of quantum information processing. There is a drive towards harnessing the properties of single quantum entities such as qubits in a quantum computer, which could yield computing devices with unprecedented power exploiting the exponential scale up of complexity in a quantum system. Photons are the ideal mediators of quantum information between different nodes of a quantum device, and to interface with atoms in a quantum memory.

The results from our experiments will be incorporated into talks for the public and schoolchildren given by the investigators.

Key Findings
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