Research Areas

Quantum Optics

Quantum optics harnesses interacting photons (individual particles of light) and atoms to explore the fundamental limits of the physical world and understand how light and matter can interact with one another on a multitude of levels. It focuses on observing aspects of the world that are uniquely quantum mechanical, including entanglement, and the transition from quantum to classical physics that comes with moving to larger scales. Understanding these light-matter interactions drives the development of new optical tools for atomic localization technology, solar cells to generate electricity, and visual sensors that can improve the function of self-driving cars.

Chicago Quantum Exchange scientists use theory and spectroscopy to understand how light-matter interactions occur on nanoscales or in unique quantum materials. Along with developing computational tools that can model classical-quantum hybrid device properties — an emerging way to incorporate efficient quantum materials into some existing systems — researchers are working to understand and improve the optical properties of materials to increase performance for a range of optical systems. Scientists are studying novel magnetic phases in low-dimensional systems through manipulation of particle spin, and use nonlinear optics to observe electron spin dynamics in materials such as ferromagnets and antiferromagnets. Understanding the quantum properties of optical systems with these methods is helping researchers develop and improve optical systems in microscopy, astrophysics, and even self-driving car technology.