Quantum physics: a tool for new upcoming technologies

The Project

Quantum physics challenges our most basics intuitions, yet it provides astonishingly accurate predictions on the behavior of matter and energy on the scale of atoms and below. Without it, we wouldn’t have developed useful technologies, such as lasers, LEDs, or transistors. Many more are about to come, such as quantum computers, as we are just at the beginning of a quantum technological revolution.

We invite you to take a journey to the core of quantum physics, starting from its foundations, and building day by day the basis to understand the upcoming quantum technologies. We’ll start with an introduction to the mathematical language (basic algebra and matrices) that will help us unfold the counterintuitive consequences of quantum physics. We will see how quantum physics is strictly connected to information processing and how it can improve current technologies, such as communications, cryptography, and computing through theoretical and practical activities in a friendly environment.

Even if it may seem incredible, quantum physics has an important impact on our daily life. Richard Feynman said that it is safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. But during your stay at ICFO we challenge you to prove him wrong, to understand the basics of quantum physics and to discover how many new technologies can stem from it, so that you can be an active part of the second quantum revolution!

Matching profiles

This project is addressed to students interested in Physics, Photonics, Mathematics or Engineering.

Learning objectives
  • To understand the basic principles of quantum physics through the mathematical language.
  • To connect quantum physics to new upcoming technologies.
  • To experience and understand different aspects of scientific research.
Required materials


Coordinators of the project

Federica Beduini

  • MSc in Physics by Università degli Studi of Milan.
  • PhD in Photonics by Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC); UPC Special Doctoral Award.
  • Part of ICFO KTT team led by Dra. Silvia Carrasco, coordinator of many of the outreach activities organized by ICFO.
  • Organizer of the Young Photonics Congress, a scientific congress for high-school students that has reached already its fourth edition.
  • Co-organizer of the BIG Bell Test, a worldwide citizen science experiment that involved more than 100 scientists and 100.000 people around the world.
Samuele Grandi

Samuele Grandi

  • I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Milan, including an internship at Laboratoire Kastler Brossel in Paris.
  • I continued my studies in Milan, with a master thesis in experimental quantum information at the LENS laboratories in Florence.
  • I then joined the FQT doctoral school at Imperial College London, where I completed my PhD on single photon generation.
  • During my Ph.D. I joined the NTT Basic Research Lab in Japan, where I worked on quantum optics in silicon devices
  • I am currently at ICFO, where I am working towards the realization of a quantum repeater based on solid state quantum memories
Álvaro Rodríguez

Álvaro Rodríguez

  • B.Sc. in Physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • M.Sc. in Photonics in the Abbe School of Photonics at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany.
  • PhD student at ICFO in the Nanophotonics Theory group led by Prof.
  • Dr. F. Javier García de Abajo.
  • My research is based on the study of nonlinear optical phenomena in
  • 2D structures.
  • Collaborating with the Outreach department at ICFO and member of the student chapter ICONS.
Lukas Heller

Lukas Heller

  • I recently started a PhD in experimental quantum optics in the “Quantum Photonics with Solids and Atoms” group at ICFO.
  • Postgrad studies in Jena, Germany, with specialization in quantum & nano optics. Undergrad studies in Vienna, Austria.
  • As a researcher, what drives me is the interest in understanding and applying the laws and mysteries of (quantum) physics.
  • Outside physics, I like to try new dishes and improve my own cooking skills. I do also play the diabolo, this spinning juggling prop on a string, or ride the bicicle.
  • Favourite character in “The Simpsons”: Maggie Simpson.

Jan Lowinski

  • MSc in Physics from ETH Zurich (with emphasis on solid state theory).
  • PhD student in Photonics with focus on experimental non-linear quantum optics and quantum communication.
  • Professional experience in automation of business process and sheep mustering.
  • Enthusiast of hitch-hiking and slow cinema.


Javier Argüello Luengo

  • Graduated in Physics and Mathematics from University Complutense of Madrid (UCM). Postgraduate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany).
  • MSc at the Perimeter Scholars International program (PSI) from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Waterloo, Canada).
  • Currently a ´La Caixa’ PhD fellow based at the Theory of Quantum Nanophotonics group at ICFO, led by Prof. Darrick Chang.
  • Research interests focus on experimental proposals for strong light-matter interaction, and its use in analogue quantum simulation.
  • Collaborates with the outreach department at ICFO and the student association QuinteScience.
Natalia Alves

Natalia Alves

  • Degree in Physics by Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) in Brazil. 
  • Went from trapping millions of atoms in my MSc at UFPE to just a single atom in my current PhD research at ICFO, where we want to study light-matter interactions at the most fundamental level. 
  • In my first semester as an undergraduate student, I built a laser and in my first semester as a PhD student, I programmed a photon-counter. 
  • Roller skating and analogic photography enthusiast. 

Laura Zarraoa

  • Physics Bachelor in Madrid (UAM), where I did my thesis on Silicon Nanowires and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
  • MSc. Physics and Nanotechnology, with specialization in Quantum Engineering in Copenhagen (DTU) and Munich (TUM). There I worked with solid state impurities and photonic crystal structures for quantum information
  • First year PhD student in experimental Atomic Quantum Optics at ICFO, studying the interaction of single photons with a single atom.
  • Other hobbies: Sports! Including martial arts (karate), climbing and acrobatic stuff like slackline or acroyoga. Wildlife photography, I like to spot and capture with my lens every type of animal I can find.
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.