Rare earth quantum information


In our group we are researching the new materials and protocols needed for quantum communication, quantum computation and quantum sensing. The systems we use are rare earth ion crystals as they are a particularly promising candidates for building quantum information devices due to their excellent quantum coherence properties. This is crucial requirement to avoid the loss of quantum information through interactions with the local environment.

In our research we combine fundamental knowledge of the materials with the development of new quantum information protocols and device fabrication capabilities. This unique skillset has enabled us to achieve several key milestones in the field of quantum information processing, for example:

  • The first quantum memory to allow storage and recall of light more faithfully than is possible with a classical memory [pub]
  • Demonstration of a six hour coherence time, the longest in a solid state system [pub]
  • Identification of the first material suitable for the development of a quantum memory at the 1550nm telecommunication wavelength [pub]
  • The first demonstration of quantum entanglement stored in a solid-state spin-wave quantum memory. [pub]

These recent breakthroughs have placed us in an exciting position to build a long-range quantum communication network, allowing the transmission of provably secure information through the use of quantum encryption. We are working towards this goal as part of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology.

Research streams

Our research program is broadly divided into four research streams.

Materials development

Developing the materials needed to build the next generation of devices

  • Crystal growth and characterisation
  • High data storage capacity quantum memory
  • Quantum computing
  • Ultra-high sensitivity magnetometry

Quantum protocol development

Device integration

Developing the capability to integrate components for scalable quantum devices


Quantum interfacing

Developing the hardware to interface different quantum information platforms

  • Interfacing single rare earth ions with silicon electronics
  • Microwave-to-optical upconversion


Sellars, Matthew profile
Head of Department

Updated:  16 March 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Laser Physics/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster