Ultrafast Quantum Optics Group (Ian Walmsley)

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UFQO Group

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The Ultrafast Quantum Optics Group at Imperial College London is led by Provost and Chair of Experimental Physics, Professor Ian Walmsley. Our research concerns the application of ultrafast optics to study quantum phenomena in light and in matter, and at the interface between them.

Coherence among multi-particle states in quantum systems provides some of the richest phenomenology in physics. Quantum coherence has impacted both our fundamental concepts of what is possible in large-scale systems and provided a proving ground for state engineering in cold atomic matter and photonic quantum networks. This frontier has been, and will be, enabled by continual improvements in our ability to control individual quantum particles, both atoms and photons, and to build them into many-particle systems with controlled correlations.

Our research aims to explore this frontier by the generation, application, and detection of quantum states of light and matter. Accessing the quantum character of systems requires care. The quantum states they occupy must be pure if the characteristic interference properties that are their hallmark are to be seen. This means one must either cool the system to very low temperatures so that the equilibrium states are naturally pure, or work on very rapid timescales so that the quantum nature may be studied before decoherence sets in.