The Optics Division is the largest in the Physics Department, comprising four professors and nine other permanent members of academic staff. The Division includes a theoretical (CNQO) and an experimental group (Photonics) and is currently in a phase of rapid expansion. In line with the research strategy of the Department to expand our work in fundamental research, the activities in the Optics Division have been converging, for some years, on the core area of quantum optics with a strong integration of experimental and theoretical activities.
Central to this is our work in the understanding and exploitation of the foundations of quantum optics, for example, topics such as non-classical properties of light, entanglement, quantum effects in light-matter interactions and optical angular momentum. A substantial driver for this work is the continuing quest for the development of quantum information technology, such as a quantum processor and quantum key distribution. Core to many of these activities is the field of atom optics, where we study the coherence phenomena in ultra-cold atoms and Bose-Einstein condensates and the behaviour of strongly correlated quantum systems in optical lattices.
Closely related to atom optics and with strong fundamental links is the field of non-linear quantum optics - the understanding of non-linear interactions and the formation of non-linear structures. This work forms the basis for a vast range of physical investigations ranging from non-linear microscopy to free-electron lasers and X-ray sources.
Alongside this there are activities developing related technologies e.g. novel laser sources, compact cold atom setups and spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.
Supported by the core activities in the Division of pursuing high-quality fundamental research we have a well-established track record of knowledge exchange. This includes commercialisation of devices developed for our on-going research projects as well as direct industrial engagement in, for example, quantum-based measurement devices.