In addition to the interesting new physics quantum processes and devices are beginning to uncover, these exotic phenomena have important practical applications.
One such area is quantum cryptography the science of sending secret messages via a quantum channel. It uses properties of quantum mechanics to establish a secure key, a process known as quantum key distribution. This key can then be used at a later stage to send encrypted information.
Quantum techniques can also be applied to reducing the noise present in laser beams, a process known as squeezing. We currently have an extensive research program investigating the application of squeezing and other quantum noise reduction techniques in the laser interferometers used to detect gravitational waves.
Selected research highlights
Potential student research projects
You could be doing your own research into fusion and plasma confinement. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in RSPE.
Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a project that interests you.
Construct a small dual tosion pendulum which have their centre of mass co-incide and their rotational axis colinear. Inital diagnostics will be done using shadow sensors.
We create the coldest stuff in the Universe – a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) – by laser-cooling helium atoms to within a millionth of a degree Kelvin. At these extremely low temperatures particles behave more like waves. You will use the BEC to study fundamental quantum mechanics and for applications like atom interferometry.
Quantum tunnelling is a fundamental process in physics. How this process occurs with composite (many-body) systems, and in particular how it relates to decoherence and dissipation, are still open questions.
The Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic Physics (GNOME) uses precision atomic magnetometers to look new physics. The concept is to have a global network of magnetometers looking for correlated magnetic field fluctuations that may be caused by strange, and unknown physics.