Quantum systems can be exceptionally sensitive probes of electric, magnetic, gravitational and inertial forces. The aim of this research is to exploit that sensitivity to make useful sensors of unprecedented precision and accuracy.
One important application area is inertial navigation. This method of navigation relies on accurate accelerometers and gyroscopes. We are developing ultracold atom interferometers for use as accelerometers in navigation systems. Atoms make excellent sensors of acceleration, free from drift and calibration error.
My group works on both quantum sensing and quantum nanophotonics. In sensing, our main activity is to measure small accelerations for (i) detecting gravity and other such forces (ii) for navigation. In nanophotonics we work to integrate dye molecules into photonic circuits to act as (i) a good quantum source of photons (ii) a strongly nonlinear material.
We work in the area of nanoplasmonics and nanophotonics, finding innovative ways to confine light below the diffraction limit and explore enhanced light/matter mixed modes and interactions. Major programmes at the moments are plasmonic hot-electron generation for surface chemistry, nanophotonic resonators for highly nonlinear interactions and quantum optics, and surface-enhanced sensing.