Glass tubes with quantum dots of perovskite nanocrystals, luminescing with all colors of the rainbow under ultraviolet radiation.

Quantum optics and quantum foundations

Explore our work in quantum optics and quantum foundations, one of our areas of research expertise in Physics

Our quantum optics and quantum foundations research looks at how photons – individual massless quanta of light – interact with each other as well as massive particles, such as atoms.

Our work uses photons to test many of the counter-intuitive phenomena at the foundation of quantum mechanics. Phenomena such as quantum superposition, quantum interference and entanglement are also fundamental resources in quantum information processing and quantum metrology.

We aim at developing novel quantum optics experiments to analyse quantum optical phenomena and we use them in quantum information processing. Our research is useful in understanding the fundamental quantum nature of our universe and boosting the development of new technologies.

Our research is regularly published in international journals, such as Nature Journals, Physical Review Letters, New Journal of Physics, Physical Review A, Quantum Information Processing, and Optics Express.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Linear and nonlinear optics networks
  • Quantum interference
  • Multiboson correlations and entanglement
  • Quantum optical tests at the interface between quantum mechanics and general relativity
  • Atom-light interactions
  • Quantum dots

Our work also crosses disciplines with atomic physics, complexity theory, general relativity, biology, medicine, artificial intelligence and environmental science.

Methods and facilities

Our work aims at the theoretical study of novel quantum optics processes and their experimental realisation with the latest technologies. 

Along with a supercomputer facility in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG), we have a quantum optics lab including lasers, nonlinear crystals, optics and photon detectors, and a time-resolved photoluminescence system.

Collaborations and funders

Quantum information and sensing is one of the key areas of expertise at the Quantum Science and Technology Hub and benefit of the large network of international collaborations with leading institutions across four continents and of funding from both government and industry within the hub.

Publication highlights

Recent projects

  • Multiphoton Quantum Sensing and Information Processing

    The overarching goal of this project is to introduce a completely innovative versatile platform for multiphoton quantum information processing and sensing by exploiting:

    • easily accessible photonic sources, such as heralded spontaneous parametric down conversion, and thermal light;
    • the full quantum information available in the given photonic system, including their inner-mode degrees of freedom (time, position, frequency, transverse momentum, etc).
  • Quantum optical networks for quantum technologies

    The project aims to investigate novel multiphoton interference techniques in optical networks for the development of new quantum technologies.

  • Distributed Quantum Optical Sensing

    The project aims to investigate novel quantum optical techniques based on the use of multiphoton distributed networks to estimate single or multiple physical parameters for imaging, biomedical, environmental and fundamental applications.

Discover our areas of expertise

Quantum optics and quantum foundations is one of three areas of expertise within our Physics research. Explore the others below.

Condensed Matter Physics

We're looking for solutions to issues around energy harvesting, efficiency and storage, medical technologies, security, and the environment. Explore our condensed matter physics research.

Close up of Molecular Beam Epitaxy system
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Quantum information and sensing technologies

We're conducting research into new quantum technologies, including applications for high-precision measurements, computing, and secure communication.

Male BAME scientist studying the Zeeman effect
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Research centres and groups

Quantum Science and Technology Hub

In our Quantum Science and Technology Hub (QSTH), we're studying quantum science and developing novel quantum technologies.

Particle quantum entanglement, quantum correlation
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Applied Physics Research Group

We're exploring research in quantum information technologies, quantum optics and quantum foundations and applied advanced materials.

Close up of Molecular Beam Epitaxy system
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Interested in a PhD in Physics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Physics postgraduate research degrees page.