Professor Emeritus Philip Burke CBE FRS MRIA
Posted June 4, 2019 by Andrew Brown
It is with great sadness that we note the passing of CTAMOP member Prof. Phil Burke.
Prof. Burke was instrumental in establishing CTAMOP as a leading group in AMO physics, particularly in the area of computational R-matrix theory on which he was the world’s chief authority. Despite spending most of his time at his home in England following his retirement in 1998, he was still active in the department until quite recently, and his work continues to have an impact through the use of the R-matrix codes he helped to develop which are still in use in CTAMOP today. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him and worked with him.
Prof. Burke obtained his B.Sc in Physics from University College Exeter in 1953 and his PhD in theoretical nuclear physics at University College London in 1956 under the supervision of Sir Harrie Massey. He was appointed Assistant Lecturer in the University of London Computer Centre in 1957. In 1959 Prof. Burke took up an appointment at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory Berkeley where he carried out research in Luis Alvarez’s Bubble Chamber group and in Ken Watson’s theory group. He returned to the UK in 1962 to take up an appointment at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell.
In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics in Sir David Bates’s department at Queen’s University Belfast where he established his group which uses R-matrix computational methods in the study of collision processes in atomic, molecular and optical physics of importance in many applications including the analysis of astronomical observations and the modeling of ionized gases and plasmas.
Prof. Burke was a Fellow or Member of several societies including the Royal Society, the Royal Irish Academy, the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society and the European Physical Society and has received a number of awards and honours including D.Sc Honoris Causa, University of Exeter in 1981 and Queen’s University Belfast in 1999, Fellow of University College London in 1986, CBE in 1993, the Guthrie Medal and Prize in 1994, and the David Bates Prize in 2000. Most recently, in 2012 he was honoured with the award of the Will Allis prize from the American Physical Society “for pioneering and sustained theoretical development of R-Matrix computational methods for electron-atom and electron-molecule collisions important in modelling ionized gases and plasmas”.
EPSRC grant for quantum engines
Posted April 18, 2019 by Andrew Brown
Congratulations to Dr. Gabriele De Chiara who has been awarded a grant from the EPSRC worth £350K for his research project “Many-Body Quantum Engines”.
The overarching challenge of this project is to design theoretical thermal machines, that use an ensemble of many interacting quantum particles as working substance.
The project entails a number of collaborations:
- with J. Sherson (Aarhus) we will design an engine whose working substance and reservoirs are realised with ultracold atoms in optical lattice potentials.
- with T. Donner (Zürich) we will design a refrigerator made of two atomic Bose-Einstein condensates that interact with the common mode of an optical cavity.
More information can be found here
Congratulations to Gabriele and his collaborators.
News and Views article
Posted March 1, 2019 by Andrew Brown
CTAMOP researcher Dr Alessandro Ferraro has written a ‘news and views‘ piece for the prestigious journal ‘Nature’.
The piece, entitled ‘Promising ways to encode and manipulate quantum information’ presents an exciting outlook for the future of quantum computing.
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 http://web.am.qub.ac.uk/wp/ukpos18/ 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.
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