Quantum science research

The discovery of quantum physics opened a realm of amazing phenomena that are still being uncovered and harnessed today. Scientists at ANU are working on all parts of this process – unravelling fundamental quantum processes through to developing quantum devices ready for market.

Diamond Quantum Science and Technology

The DQST Laboratory studies the physics and applications of optical defects in semiconductors, such as diamond. The Lab’s research covers all domains of quantum science and technology, from the discovery of defects to their incorporation into unprecedented quantum sensors, microscopes, communications and computers. The Lab’s activities span the full spectrum of basic science to commercialisation, and uses methods ranging from ab initio quantum theory through to quantum device design and demonstration.

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Solid State Spectroscopy

The Solid-State Spectroscopy group is developing repeater and router hardware to enable the distribution of quantum information over global communication networks. At its heart is a highly innovative linear optics quantum processor design that utilises quantum memories based on rare-earth doped crystals. The lab is working with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to scope future satellite missions that will demonstrate the deployment of the processor in a satellite quantum communication network.

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Polariton Bose-Einstein Condensation Group

The ANU Polariton BEC group undertakes experimental and theoretical research on hybrid light-matter particles - exciton-polaritons - in semiconductors. Driven by laser light, exciton polaritons coalesce into macroscopically occupied quantum states similar to Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) of ultracold atomic matter, but at much higher temperatures, closer to ambient conditions. Our research focuses both on fundamental investigations of quantum phase transitions in exciton-polariton systems, and on development of low-energy polariton-based optoelectronic devices.

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Electronic Materials Engineering Department

Our research efforts focus on the growth, fabrication and characterisation of III-V semiconductor nanowires and nanostructures for a range of optoelectronic device applications. Through TMOS (ARC Centre of Excellence), we are developing nanoscale laser arrays, advanced and quantum light sources, meta-optics enhanced detectors and nanoscale single photon detectors for applications in augmented reality, LiFi, holographic displays, 3D imaging, IR and quantum remote sensing, and light detection and ranging.

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Theory of quantum many-body systems

The Theoretical Physics Department studies the physics and related mathematics of fundamental quantum many-body systems appearing in quantum field theory, condensed matter physics, quantum information theory and quantum light-matter interactions. This field inspires profound developments in mathematics and finds applications in the emerging technology of quantum devices. These application areas include quantum dots in nanotechnology and artificial qubits in superconducting quantum circuits.

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Metastable Helium Bose-Einstein Condensate

The Metastable Helium BEC laboratory investigates fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. A BEC is a collection of around a million atoms occupying a single quantum state that can be centimetres in size, allowing quantum effects to be measured on a macroscopic scale. Combined with the unique single atom detection capabilities of metastable helium, this system is used to study effects such as entanglement of massive particles and quantum phase transitions.

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Quantum Theory Group

The Quantum Theory Group at the Department of Quantum Science studies systems of atoms and light, analysing fundamental behaviour and designing the next generation of quantum devices. The group pioneers new theoretical tools to model degenerate quantum gases, and creates machine-designed quantum control schemes to invent quantum computing technology and advanced sensors that operate below the standard quantum limit.

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Quantum Nano-photonics

We research integrated approaches for creation and manipulation of multi-photon states. We develop waveguide circuits for nonlinear generation of entangled photons with applications in broadband low-light spectroscopy and in monitoring of transmitted photon states. Through the Centre for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems we design and fabricate ultra-thin nano-structured metasurfaces that realize parallel quantum interference for tailored generation, transformation and detection of quantum states of light with applications for communications and imaging.

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Spinwave Engineering Lab

Photons of light are an excellent means for transmitting quantum information owing to their high speed. Our research seeks to build a memory capable of catching and releasing quantum states of light for future quantum information networks. We do this by storing light as a “spinwave” in clouds of laser cooled atoms. We also look for ways to engineer the atomic spinwaves and enable new ways of processing quantum information.

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Nuclear Quantum Physics

The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility is Australia’s highest energy ion accelerator and allows us to study quantum phenomena in nuclei. For example, we study quantum tunnelling in nuclear fusion, a crucial step in stars making carbon, and the complex quantum effects involved in creating new elements for the periodic table. The accelerator is also used to study nuclear decays and how they could be used to treat cancer via the Auger effect.

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Centre for Gravitational Astronomy

CGA explores the science and technology of gravitational wave sources. The centre strategically unifies the ongoing research at Research School of Physics and ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Active fields of research at CGA span instrumentation, theory, data analysis, source follow-up and multi-messenger astronomy. The centre operates world-class facilities and collaborates with national and international observatories and gravitational wave detectors.

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Atomlaser group

The Atomlaser group operates a state-of-the-art quantum sensing program and performs fundamental research into novel non-linear quantum phenomena using mixed species Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC). The group has pioneered BEC-based precision gravity and magnetic sensing and is driving the future of quantum sensing forward with a focus on design for portable systems using cutting-edge lasers, fibre amplifiers and integrated fibreoptic systems.

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Centres of Excellence

ANU is a partner in four quantum-related Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery

The mission of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) is to capitalise on the historic first detections of gravitational waves to understand the extreme physics of black holes and warped spacetime, and to inspire the next generation of Australian scientists and engineers through this new window on the Universe.

At ANU we specialise in quantum noise reduction technology – ‘squeezing’ – which we use to enhance the detection of gravitational waves.

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ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) addresses a grand challenge: reducing the energy used in information technology, which now accounts for 8% of the electricity use on Earth, and is doubling every 10 years.

Our research focuses on creating low-energy electronics based on new quantum materials – the current, silicon-based technology (CMOS) will stop becoming more efficient in the next decade as Moore’s law comes to an end.


ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) conducts world-leading research into building quantum machines to harness the quantum world for practical applications. EQUS’ research encompasses both theoretical advances and experimental developments, with programs to develop the designer quantum materials, quantum-enabled diagnostics and imaging, and quantum engines and instruments at the heart of future quantum machines.


ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) is building on its fundamental advances in quantum information research in silicon, optical and networking platforms to develop full-scale quantum systems.

Our mission is to deliver quantum processors able to run error corrected algorithms and transfer information across networks with absolute security. We have developed unique technologies for manipulating matter and light at the level of individual atoms and photons, demonstrated the highest fidelity, longest coherence time qubits in the solid state; the world’s longest-lived quantum memory in the solid state; and the ability to run small-scale algorithms on photonic qubits.

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Updated:  26 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster