Research Fellows Directory
Dr Jeroen Elzerman
University College London
It has been known for more than a century that nature at its deepest level is not described by classical physics, but rather by quantum mechanics. Quantum theory relies on unfamiliar concepts such as superposition and entanglement, which seem to have no relation to the everyday world around us but which nonetheless describe the behaviour of matter and its interaction with light in great detail. Although these quantum concepts have demonstrated their usefulness in the lab, they have not been exploited in actual devices.
This is starting to change. A new class of technology is emerging that aims to take advantage of quantum mechanics to do things that are not possible using classical physics. In particular, it was realised that information can be processed in fundamentally more efficient ways if it is not encoded in classical binary form (a bit that is either “one” or “zero”), but rather in the quantum state of an object (which can be “one” and “zero” at the same time). This idea can be applied to such diverse tasks as quantum simulation, communication and computation. It could lead to new methods of simulating large complex molecules for developing designer-drugs; to new protocols for sharing information that are fundamentally secure against unwanted eavesdroppers; and to the implementation of powerful computing algorithms that could solve currently intractable problems.
In the Quantum Nanophotonics group, we focus on optically active semiconductor nanostructures. Semiconductors - which are at the heart of modern photonics and electronics – are particularly appealing because they can host electronic and nuclear spins with exceptional quantum coherence properties. Our ultimate goal is to develop ways of controlling the quantum state of multiple coupled electronic and nuclear spins in semiconductor nanostructures, via their interaction with light, and to exploit this for making practical devices that harness the power of quantum mechanics.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)