Physics is fascinating because of the intellectual excitement it provides and because of the applications it offers. In the Group of Applied Physics (GAP) at Geneva University we get our inspiration from both of these motivations. Optics, in this respect, has a privileged place. Indeed, in modern optics, experiments and theory progress hand-in-hand, and practical applications are close behind. Consequently, we can work both on conceptual issues and on applications. Moreover, it is a very good time for optics! The fascinating new insight about quantum mechanics brought about by recent quantum optics experiments on one side, and the tremendous development of optical communications on the other, illustrates our privileged position!
The American Research Council has recently declared optics as the technology of the 21st century. In contrast, a famous physicist, Michael Berry, has declared that the 21st century will be shaped by quantum physics, in a way similar to electrodynamics, which shaped the 20th century. Our position in GAP-Quantique, at the crossroads between optics and quantum physics, ensures our participation to both challenges.
As attempts to understand how the classical world emerges from the quantum domain, post-quantum theories have been derived that reproduces quantum and classical physics as two asymptotic cases. Phenomenologically, these theories can be seen as quantum theory supplemented with an explicit collapse mechanism and might have a rich underlying physics. Prof. Gisin made significant contributions to these research directions already in the 80's (see for example N. Gisin Helvetica Physica Acta, 62 363 (1989) ), known today as Continuous Spontaneous Localization, in the spirit of the GRW-Bell model. Recently, in collaboration with Prof. Markus Aspelmeyer from Vienna, Prof. Nicolas Sangouard (soon in Basel) and Dr. Pavel Sekatski (Innsbruck) have made a concrete proposal showing how we can create and detect an optomechanical quantum state involving macroscopically distinct mechanical components. Through a detailed feasibility study, we have shown that it might open up a way for testing these post-quantum theories… a very exciting perspective that has now been published in Physical Review Letters.
We are looking for post-docs and PhD students to work on “Large Entanglement”.
Quantum theory is often presented as the theory of the microscopic world. However, things have changed dramatically over the last decade. Today one can envision manipulating large quantum systems, while mastering individual degrees of freedom. The vision of this project is to explore large entangled systems and to collect evidence that entanglement can survive at large scales. This will be done with experiments advancing hand in hand with theory. We propose to demonstrate entanglement between two or more massive crystals with hundreds of entanglement bits (e-bits), hundreds of thousands of excitations and billions of ions. The theoretical activities will aim to sharpen the notions of “large” and “macroscopic”. Questions like “What is large entanglement?” and “What deserves to be called entanglement between macroscopic systems?” will receive new insightful answers, deepening our understanding of nature.
Candidates should send an e-mail with a CV and a motivation letter to Nicolas.Gisin@unige.ch. They should also arrange for recommendation letters to be sent to the same address.
During the QCrypt conference at the Institute of Quantum Computing, professor Nicolas Gisin gave an interview about his research interests. In the two part video, he talks about the unexpected applications of quantum technologies in modern devices and their possible applications in the future. Also he briefly discusses his goal of understanding nature and how the world works through fundamental studies and experiments. He uses nonlocality as an example to explain how some fundamentals are counterintuitive.
A recent collaborative project between our group, the University of Cambridge and the National University of Singapore has succeeded in experimentally demonstrating the feasibility of secure bit commitment and has been published in the Physics Review Letters. This protocol allows at individual to lock away, or in other words commit to, some information and reveal it at some time later, without the possibility of changing it. This could be used for a fair voting or bidding system where no one should know anyone else intent before a specified time. Full security is guaranteed by exchanging quantum information between the communicating parties in addition to the exchange of classical information with distant agents, which gives rise to a secure commitment time thanks to the laws of special relativity. In our case the agents were placed in Geneva and Singapore allowing for a commitment time close to the maximum achievable on the surface of the earth. Further details of our work have been discussed in a Physics Focus article published by the American Physical Society.
A detailed and popular discussion of the future of communication technology, as well as specific parameters and capabilities of modern quantum systems are available on the Phys.org website. The principal advantages of using a solid-state quantum memory on rare-earth ion doped crystals and the prospects of their use for quantum devices are discussed. In an interview with Professor Nicolas Gisin talks about the recent achievements of our group in the direction of a quantum repeater within the framework of the European QUREP project.
Research into the strange phenomenon known as quantum entanglement - once described as 'spooky' by Albert Einstein - could revolutionise ICT over the coming years, enabling everything from ultra-fast computing to completely secure long-distance communications…Read more>>>