It's a Quantum World!
Quantum physics is the most counter-intuitive theory ever produced. It challenges our most basics intuitions, yet its provides astonishingly accurate predictions on the behavior of matter and energy on the scale of atoms and below. More surprisingly, the paradoxes of quantum physics are being turned into promising technologies. We are soon going to witness the second revolution of quantum technologies, and although Arthur C. Clarke said that “any advanced enough technology is indistinguishable from magic”, we are sure you would like to know the details of every trick to be able to take the lead!
Before being introduced to the theory of quantum physics, you will be exposed to vector and matrix formalism, to be able to understand the postulates, and to the basics of information theory, to be able to introduce quantum mechanics from the point of view of information. We will finish the theory lessons with a discussion of Bell inequalities.
Then you will be able to explore the effects of measurement on quantum systems through several stages and manipulations on an interferometer. You will manipulate the optical elements of a basic interferometer to understand in a direct and practical way some of the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics and how they are connected to new technologies.
By manipulating several optical systems you can understand how superposition works and how information plays an important role for quantum physics, leading to surprising effects. You can see how to measure –and then gain information– a system can change it. You can also erase this information –even if the measurement is already done– to restore the system to its initial conditions.
You will also use an optical setup to send information in a secure way, based on the quantum cryptographic protocols, so that you will get in a practical way how quantum physics can improve the security of communications. Quantum physics can help us also to speed up some kinds of calculations: you’ll learn how this is possible and how to interact with a quantum computer.
Richard Feynman, a physicist who was born exactly 100 years ago and contributed greatly to quantum physics, said that it is safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. During your stay here at ICFO we challenge you to prove him wrong, to understand the basics of quantum physics and how many new technologies can stem from it, so that you can be an active part of the second quantum revolution!
Physics, photonics, engineering, mathematics