Congratulations Kathryn

Posted February 11, 2019 by Andrew Brown

Congratulations to CTAMOP PhD student Kathryn Hamilton who successfully defended her thesis last week.

Kathryn’s work on two colour spectroscopic methods for time-dependent analysis of ultrafast processes was examined by Prof. Carla Figuera Faria de Morrison of UCL and Dr. Tom Field of QUB.

Kathryn will leave Belfast later this year to take up a post-doc position with Klaus Bartschat at Drake University in the USA.

2018 QUB Vice-Chancellor’s Research Prize

Posted December 3, 2018 by Andrew Brown

Congratulations to CTAMOP member Dermot Green, who has been awarded the 2018 Queen’s University Belfast Vice-Chancellor’s Research Prize (Postdoctoral Research category).

The award recognises Dermot’s leading contributions to the theory of antimatter-interactions with atoms, and of ultra-intense laser-matter interactions, and was presented by the Vice Chancellor at an awards lunch.

Nature Quantum Information paper shines a light on quantum bacteria

Posted November 30, 2018 by Andrew Brown

There is a long and heated debate on whether or not biological processes such as light harvesting and photosynthesis might be due to fundamental quantum processes. Erwin Schroedinger, himself one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, discussed applications of quantum mechanics to biology in his landmark book ‘What life?’ already in 1944!

While a conclusive answer to such a tantalising question is still in need of unquestionable experimental evidence, a recent collaboration between Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Oxford University and Queen’s University Belfast has shown the possibility to investigate the possible quantum nature of biological systems using an approach based on quantum information. The investigation, which included CTAMOP Director of Research Mauro Paternostro, has produced a scheme capable of revealing non-classical features of bacteria with only minimal knowledge of their working features and the way they interact with their surrounding environment.

The scheme puts the bacteria in a role of mediators of quantum entanglement, one of the genuine traits of quantum physics, between different light fields. The proposed method to investigate quantum features in biological samples appears to be very close to current experimental capabilities and may offer a new information-theoretical route to the resolution of an almost 70-year old question!

UK Positron Workshop 2018 at QUB 18-19 December

Posted October 26, 2018 by Dermot Green

The UK Positron Workshop is the gathering of the UK community of researchers interested in the fundamental aspects and applications of low-energy positrons, positronium and antihydrogen. The UK community includes many of the international leaders in the field of low-energy antimatter research.

The 2018 meeting will be held in Queen’s Belfast 18-19 December 2018, and is organised by CTAMOP members Dermot Green and Gleb Gribakin.

The Workshop website is now live and accepting registration and abstract submissions.

We look forward to welcoming you to Belfast!


Thermodynamic irreversibility does arise from quantum dynamics

Posted October 18, 2018 by Andrew Brown

An international collaboration led by the Quantum Technology group at Queen’s University (QTeQ) has made an important breakthrough in quantum thermodynamics.

Quantum theory suggests that we should be able to reverse time, whereas our experience (thermodynamics) tells us otherwise. The resolution of this apparent contradiction has eluded scientists until now.

The theoretical framework was developed by Queen’s physicists G De Chiara, A Ferraro and M Paternostro, together with their former PhD students Matteo Brunelli and Lorenzo Fusco and collaborators from the University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University of ABC.

Experimentalists at ETH Zurich and the University of Vienna then performed two experiments to show that macroscopic thermodynamic irreversibility does in fact arise from the fundamental laws of quantum dynamics.

The results– now published in the prestigious pages of Physical Review Letters, the leading journal in Physics– have been deemed worthy of an Editors’ Suggestion and a Synopsis, an honour that only a small fraction of the manuscripts accepted to this journal receive in light of their significance and contribution.

This is only the latest result of the intense research activity at QTeQ focusing on the thermodynamics of quantum systems, a field where Queen’s scientists are recognised as leaders and pioneers.

New paper in Nature Quantum Information

Posted September 28, 2018 by Andrew Brown

CTAMOP research fellow Ricardo Puebla has published an article in the prestigious journal Nature Quantum Information.

The key finding of the work is that dynamics of nonlinearly-interacting light-matter systems can be described using just linear terms and spin rotations.

The article draws a connection between a generic model involving nonlinear interactions (i.e., emission/absorption of many photons at the same time from the same particle) with a simpler model involving just linear terms and spin rotation. This connection allows the dynamics of nonlinearly-interacting systems to be simulated without actually including nonlinearities.

Such models describe many disparate quantum systems, and are thus both of fundamental and technological interest.

Review paper in ROPP

Posted June 25, 2018 by Andrew Brown

Dr. Gabriele De Chiara has published an authoritative review paper in the journal Reports on Progress in Physics.

The paper, co-authored with Dr. Anna Sanpera of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, surveys the latest developments in the field of quantum correlations, including entanglement, non-locality and discord in the analysis of many-body systems.

This is a rich and extremely active field encompassing topics from condensed matter physics to quantum information theory.

Reports on Progress in Physics publishes review articles covering all branches of physics, written by invited authors who are worldwide experts in their field.

CTAMOP researcher wins prestigious Springer Thesis Prize

Posted by Andrew Brown

Ricardo Puebla Congratulations to CTAMOP post-doc, Ricardo Puebla, who has been awarded a Springer Prize for his PhD thesis.

Springer Theses collects the “best of the best” PhD theses in Physics and Chemistry from around the world. Top-ranked research institutes select their best thesis annually for publication in this series. Nominated and endorsed by two recognized specialists, each thesis is chosen for its scientific excellence and impact on research.

Completed under the supervision of Martin Plenio at the University of Ulm, Ricardo’s PhD research focused on understanding how the well-established equilibrium properties of phase transitions can be extended into a nonequilibrium scenario, going beyond the celebrated Kibble-Zurek mechanism of defect formation.

Ricardo is currently undertaking a research project in the realm of open quantum systems funded by the DfE-SFI investigator programme, which involves disparate aspects of light-matter interacting systems, quantum simulation and quantum information processing.

New PRL on positronium interactions with atoms

Posted June 12, 2018 by Andrew Brown

Positronium (Ps) is a light ‘atom’ that consists of an electron and its antiparticle (positron). This simplest matter-antimatter system is of fundamental importance for testing quantum electrodynamics, and is widely used in condensed matter for probing voids and free space, and as a precursor for making antihydrogen at CERN. In spite of its importance, the interaction and collisions of low-energy Ps with normal matter, e.g., atoms or molecules, are not fully understood. Theoretically, the problem is made challenging by the effect of structure of both the projectile and target.

In their latest paper Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 183402 Dermot Green, Andrew Swann and Gleb Gribakin from the CTAMOP Antimatter and Atomic Many-body Theory Group present a new first-principles theoretical approach to describe Ps interactions with noble-gas atoms, which takes account of the distortion of the Ps and the atom during their interaction. Notably, they demonstrate that their approach gives the best agreement with experiment for the pick-off annihilation rate (where the positron from positronium annihilates with one of the atomic electrons), resolving a long-standing discrepancy between theory and experiment.

New Journal of Physics: 2017 Reviewer Award to CTAMOP member

Posted June 5, 2018 by Andrew Brown

Gabriele De Chiara has been awarded for the second year in a row the title of “Outstanding Reviewer” in 2017 for New Journal of Physics published by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

A full list of the awards can be found here.

“IOP is proud to recognize excellence in reviewing, and each year the journal editorial teams select the best reviewers of the year based on the quality, quantity and timeliness of their reviews.”

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We are a Research Cluster of the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Our research interests are focused primarily on computational and theoretical physics.

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The Old Physics Building,
where CTAMOP is situated.