Controlled Quantum Dynamics - The CQD-DTC

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics

Abstract

The technological revolution brought about by the development of miniaturized electronic devices over the last 50 years has had an extraordinary impact on our daily lives. Devices are now reaching the realm where individual structures are made up of only a few atoms where quantum fluctuations play a crucial role and a quantum description is required. This has led to concern that we will soon reach a fundamental impasse in the development of ever smaller, more powerful devices. Recent theoretical and experimental developments have however led us to use the laws of quantum mechanics in new ways - allowing the manipulation of matter on the atomic scale for hitherto undreamt of applications. This emerging field of controlled Quantum Dynamics (CQD) holds the promise of turning the quantum behavior of nano-structues to our advantage. Specific areas that benefit from CQD include quantum information processing, nano-scale devices, sensors and quantum metrology. Indeed, the EU ERA-Pilot QIST Strategic report on current status, visions and goals for research in Europe states: Quantum physics has revolutionized science in the 20th century. The exploitation of quantum effects is set to revolutionize information processing in the 21st century. In 2006 the Technology Strategy Board identified quantum technologies as a sector in which the UK can take a lead. Hence we believe the development of CQD can play a central role. The theoretical and experimental challenges are great but the potential benefits make the effort essential. When a new field emerges a key challenge in meeting the future demands of industry and academia, in terms of human resources, is appropriate training. It is through well thought-out and integrated training that a community that 'speaks the same language' emerges. The UK plays a leading role in the theory and experimental development of CQD and Imperial College is a centre of excellence within this context. The teams involved in the proposed DTC cover a wide range of key activities from theory through to experiment. Collectively we have an outstanding track record in research, training of postgraduate students and teaching. The separate fields that make up the scientific base of CQD are already supported by, for instance, the EPSRC but, until now, the provision of training in CQD as a whole has not been coordinated. The idea of the proposed DTC is therefore to provide a coherent training environment bringing together PhD students from a wide variety of backgrounds and giving them an appreciation of experiment and theory of related fields under the umbrella of CQD. Students graduating from our programme will subsequently find themselves in high-demand both by industry and academia. Therefore the present DTC addresses the EPSRC strategic area Securing the Future Supply of People .It is clear that other high-profile activities within the general area of CQD are being undertaken in a range of other UK universities. A key aim of our DTC is inclusivity. We propose to operate a model whereby academics from outside of Imperial College can act as co-supervisors for PhD students on collaborative projects whereby the student spends part of the PhD at the partner institution whilst remaining closely tied to Imperial College and the student cohort. These collaborating academics will contribute to the taught component of our DTC with lectures, e.g. at summer courses, thus broadening the technology coverage of the proposed DTC. Furthermore, we will establish links with the new PhD programme in this area at MIT (to start 2009), the QCCC International PhD programme of the TU and LMU Munich and the MPQ-Garching and the PhD Programme Complex Quantum System of the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck.Hence the proposed CQD-DTC will be embedded in the UK and international community building on its strengths, supporting its development and providing the UK with the staff to develop quantum technologies for the 21st century.

Publications

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