Scientists have recently begun to explore the quantum nature of some marvelous phenomena such as superconductivity and photosynthesis. A clearer understanding could inspire a technological revolution, with the potential for a huge positive impact on the lives of human beings. Unfortunately, complex quantum systems with many-body interactions are hard to investigate theoretically due to their computational complexity. A promising way forward is to assemble and control real quantum systems to predict the behaviour of other quantum systems i.e. quantum simulation. In this document, I present a research proposal in the field of experimental quantum simulation, to be carried out in room-temperature atomic vapour at the University of Oxford. The central objective is to construct and implement the first memory-enabled optical quantum simulator, building on the world-leading broadband memory expertise in Oxford. In this scheme, stationary atomic excitations act as physical sites and flying photons mediate site-to-site interactions. This will be divided into three sub objectives: (1) building a broadband quantum memory and observing interference between flying photons and stationary atomic excitations; (2) simulating photosynthetic complex in a simplified model by means of an all-optical quantum network; (3) realizing a dynamically programmable memory-enabled optical quantum simulator. These all represent important advances in the nascent, multi-disciplinary field of quantum simulation. Through the two main experiments I performed at Jian-Wei Pan's group in China– long-distance free-space teleportation and quantum memory for down-converted entanglement – I have garnered expertise in large-scale quantum networks and quantum light-matter interfaces. I am therefore in a unique position to develop the technology at Oxford in order to achieve the aforementioned goals and turn quantum simulation into a mature and scalable technology for tackling intractable computational problems.
Call for proposal
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