Quantum Nanophysics and Matter Wave Interferometry
We are an experimental physics research group located at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Our work is devoted to the foundations of physics and to provide empirical evidence to explore non-classical properties such as superposition and entanglement of massive particles at mesoscopic and possibly even macroscopic scales. Our expertise is in matter-wave interferometry experiments with large molecules and nanoparticles, optical trapping and cooling techniques for nanoparticles in vacuum, e.g. by parametric feedback. Such experiments hold promise to test possible limitations of quantum theory such as predicted by collapse models and eventually the interplay between quantum theory and gravity.
We are always looking for highly motivated and talented people to work with us as project or PhD students and post-docs. If you are interested and for more details please contact Professor Hendrik Ulbricht.
Our work is kindly supported by the UK funding agency EPSRC, the Royal Society, the John F Templeton Foundation and the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi).
Our goal is the experimental test of coherence in the centre of mass motion of large molecules and atoms. To this end we develop new concepts for experiments together with our theory collaborators and perform matter-wave interferometry experiments. We are building the first UK Talbot-Lau molecule interferometer and develop new methods for particle beam sources, manipulation and detection. A further interest is the study of internal properties of molecules such as electron and nuclear spins by magnetic deflection and resonant manipulation.
We are interested to transfer concepts from quantum optics to the electron transport in graphene. The ultimate goal is the realisation of correlation [HBT, HOM, Bell] and interferometry experiments with electrons in this 2-dimensional system to explore coherence of the position and momentum of electrons. This will lead to implementations of continuous variable quantum information. We are using state of the art nanofabrication techniques to build electron transport devices and test those in our 4K cryostate. We are also interested in the mechanical properties of graphene to push electro-and opto-mechanical devices into the quantum domain.
Our goal is the experimental test of quantum theory and eventually also gravity in the context of quantum mechanics. This effort ultimately aims to generate spatial quantum superposition states of large-mass particles in the macroscopic domain. We develop optical trapping and parametric feedback cooling techniques to generate such non-classical states with nanoparticles in the size range of 10 nm to 100 nm. The present goal is to build a Talbot interferometer to test the quantum superposition principle for 10 nm particles, which will be the largest ever tested on this planet. Some of our new conceptual ideas go beyond matter-wave interferometric tests of fundamental theories of nature and we are working to realise those as well.