Professor Ian Walmsley FRS

Ian Walmsley uses state-of-the-art laser systems to investigate the quantum interactions of light and matter. His research involves using light pulses as short as attoseconds (10–18 seconds) to control and probe the dynamics of matter and to explore the quantum properties of light. Potential applications include ultrafast quantum computing, an extremely secure quantum internet, and the ultrafast measurement of physical systems such as the vibrations of molecules or solid crystals like diamond.

As part of the toolkit for manipulating ultrashort light pulses, Ian has also developed the SPIDER — spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction — measurement technique that enables researchers and engineers to characterise such pulses.

Ian has led a number of research collaborations, including the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a winner of its 2011 Young Medal and Prize for his innovative contributions to optical physics. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, by which he was awarded the 2011 Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science.

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics

    Quantum theory

  • Engineering

    Communications incl information theory


  • Rumford Medal

    For pioneering work in the quantum control of light and matter on ultrashort timescales, especially the invention and application of new techniques for characterization of quantum and classical light fields.

Professor Ian Walmsley FRS
Elected 2012