It's a Quantum World!

The Project

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!

Matching profiles

Physics, photonics, engineering, mathematics

Required materials


Coordinator of the project
Marta García

Marta García

Marta García-Matos is a physicist, mathematician, and writer. At ICFO’s outreach team, she is in charge of interdisciplinary programs involving people some way or another into science and light. She has designed exhibitions and workshops for Barcelona Science Museum CosmoCaixa, organizes annually the speculative fiction contest The Light on the Waves, and has recently published, together with ICFO’s director Lluis Torner, the book The Wonders of Light (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Silvia Carrasco

Silvia Carrasco

Silvia Carrasco (PhD, MBA) is director of the KTT Unit at ICFO since 2006, and was awarded with the “Fem Talent” award in February 2013. She is also vice-president of the Spanish mirror of the European Platform Photonics21, a Member of the Board of SECPhO, the Southern European Cluster in Photonics and Optics, and the founder of the “From Science to Business” Program that ICFO has launched in 2008 jointly with ESADE Business School, to promote the entrepreneurial spirit among young scientists.

Federica Beduini

Federica Beduini

Federica Beduini is a Italian physicist, who arrived to Barcelona in 2009 for a PhD in Quantum Optics at ICFO. She is now Outreach Project Manager at ICFO coordinating the educational activities that ICFO organises to spread the passion for light and photonics among young students. For the last Science Week, she organised the first Young Photonic Congress, where more than 80 students from Catalonia had the opportunity to explain their own research projects to their peers and to ICFO researchers.

The center

The Institute of Photonic Science (ICFO) is a young research institution that aims to advance the very limits of knowledge in photonics, namely the science and technology of harnessing light.