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  Olivier Pfister   Olivier Pfister
Professor , Experimental Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Ph.D., 1993, Paris-North

op6n@Virginia.EDU email   924-7956 tel 135 JBL Office

Olivier Pfister’s research focuses on experimental quantum optics and quantum information. The quantum nature of light (the existence of photons) is a fascinating subject which has turned into a mature experimental field since its inception in the eighties. The research by Pfister’s group, “Quantum Fields and Quantum Information” (QFQI), aims at blazing new trails into the realm of quantum information. In particular, QFQI and their theory collaborators, Nicolas Menicucci and Steven Flammia at the University of Sydney, discovered a new, highly scalable experimental paradigm for the implementation of quantum computing: building a quantum register out of the multitude of resonant fields (“Qmodes”) of a single optical cavity. The QFQI group and collaborators have achieved the preliminary step of “quantum computing over the optical frequency comb” (or “over the rainbow”...) by demonstrating, in the lab, the quantum correlations necessary for quantum computing, known as cluster-state entanglement, in 15 sets of 4 entangled modes, thereby establishing parallel entanglement within a record-size 60-Qmode register. Work is now underway toward the creation of even larger cluster entangled states and their use for nontrivial quantum processing.

In addition to this NSF-funded work on continuous-variable entanglement, QFQI has also established an NSF-funded collaboration with the group of Dr. Sae Woo Nam at NIST, and with Prof. Aaron Miller at Albion College, toward the construction of a photon-number-resolved detector system which has been completed and installed in the QFQI lab. Using this unique machine, we seek to attack the study of quantum fields from their purely particle aspect, as an epitome of the complementarity principle first put forth by Niels Bohr. On the theoretical side, we are striving to understand the deep connections between the multipartite entanglement of continuous variables with that of discrete ones.

Last but not least, in collaboration with Drs. Jonathan Habif and Saikat Guha at Raytheon-BBN, we are participating in fundamental studies of quantum information theory and their experimental applications to quantum imaging, under the umbrella of the DARPA "InPho" (Information in a Photon) program. The goal is to ascertain the quantity of information that can be carried by a single photon and to experimentally demonstrate such concepts.


Quantum Fields and Quantum Information


M. Chen, N.C. Menicucci, and O. Pfister, Experimental realization of multipartite entanglement of 60 modes of a quantum optical frequency comb, Physical Review Letters 112, 120505 (2014).

M. Pysher, Y. Miwa, R. Shahrokhshahi, R. Bloomer, and O. Pfister, Parallel generation of quadripartite cluster entanglement in the optical frequency comb, Physical Review Letters 107, 030505 (2011). Featured in Physics Today

R. Bloomer, M. Pysher, and O.Pfister, Nonlocal restoration of two-mode squeezing in the presence of strong optical loss, New Journal of Physics 13, 063014 (2011). Video abstract

N.C. Menicucci, S.T. Flammia, and O. Pfister, One-way quantum computing in the optical frequency comb, Physical Review Letters 101, 130501 (2008). Spotlit in APS Physics and in Nature.

S. Feng and O. Pfister, Quantum interference of ultrastable twin optical beams, Physical Review Letters 92, 203601 (2004).

Moran Chen is one of two recipients of the 2014 Allen T. Gwathmey Memorial Award, an honor reserved for the most accomplished graduate students in the sciences at the University of Virginia in ......More >
Dear Colleagues,We have learned from APS that four of our colleagues - Paul Fendley, Seunghun Lee, Olivier Pfister and Hank Thacker have been electedAPS Fellows 2013. Please join me in ......More >
From UVa Today:"Pfister, professor of physics in the College, is a noted researcher in quantum information and quantum computing. The development of quantum computers, one of the most ......More >
From Network World:"My work with optical fields has demonstrated good preliminary control over 60 qubit equivalents, which we call 'Qmodes' and has the potential to scale to thousands of ......More >
From UVaToday:Olivier Pfister, a professor of physics in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, has just published findings in the journal Physical Review Letters ......More >
Despina Louca and Olivier Pfister have been promoted to Full Professors and Mark Williams to Research Professor of Physics and Professor of Radiology, effective August 25, 2011....More >
APS Fellow [2013]
For his groundbreaking contributions to quantum optics applied to quantum information and precision measurements, including his discovery of the use of the quantum optical frequency comb of a single optical resonator as a support for massively scalable quantum information.
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