The Institute of Optics

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Quantum Nonlinear Optics in Ottawa

Dr. Robert Boyd, University of Rochester and University of Ottawa

Monday, December 9, 2013
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium

In this talk, I describe my research program at the University of Ottawa and also describe how it meshes with my continuing research projects in Rochester.  In broad terms, my research in Ottawa has two primary themes:  nanophotonics and optical methods in quantum information science.  In terms of nanophotonics, we are in the process of developing photonic devices such as slow-light waveguides and structures for the manipulation of the orbital angular momentum of light.  We are also developing plasmonic structures and are characterizing them in terms of their nonlinear optical properties and their use as photonic biosensors.  Our work in quantum information science is motivated by the goal of developing a quantum key distribution system that can transmit many bits of information per photon (a project initiated and still ongoing in Rochester).  We are also developing procedures for quantifying the quantum properties of light beams through the use of entanglement witnesses and by the direct measurement of the photon wavefunction. 

Nonlinear optics is a venerable branch of photonics and optical physics, dating back certainly to 1961 or even earlier.   Nonetheless, the field of nonlinear optics has recently experienced a renaissance by means of its application to problems in quantum information science and quantum optics.  In this talk, I first present a very rapid overview of the development of the field of nonlinear optics and then move on the survey some areas of recent research interest.

One such example is research in “slow” and “fast” light.  Research performed over the past several years has demonstrated new methods for controlling the velocity of propagation of light pulses through material systems.  Ultra slow velocities (tens of meters per second) and ultra fast velocities (including negative velocities) have been demonstrated.  This talk will present an overview of the field of slow and fast light and will include a discussion of some new ideas for applications of fast and slow light based on the use of room temperature solids.

Boyd plus rubyRobert Boyd was born in Buffalo, New York. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a PhD in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. His PhD thesis was supervised by Charles Townes and involved the use of nonlinear optical techniques in infrared detection for astronomy. In 1977, Professor Boyd joined the faculty of the University of Rochester and, in 2001, became the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and Professor of Physics. 
In 2010, he became Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Nonlinear Optics and Professor of Physics at the University of Ottawa. His research interests include studies of “slow” and “fast” light propagation, quantum imaging techniques, nonlinear optical interactions, studies of the nonlinear optical properties of materials, and the development of photonic devices including photonic biosensors.