Quantum Innovators in science and engineering participants

After completing her BSc in Physics at the Humboldt University Berlin, she joined Vladan Vuletic’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a research stay, focusing on atomic physics and quantum optics. During her Master studies at the University of Vienna Silvia deepened her interest in quantum optics and finished her Master thesis in Arno Rauschenbeutel’s group at the Vienna University of Technology on non-linear interaction of atoms with light propagating though nano-fibers. In her PhD thesis at Heidelberg University and in Stefan Hell’s group at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen she worked on the implementation of high-fidelity quantum gates and nanoscale quantum sensing with nitrogen vacancy centers in diamond. Since May 2017 she joined Siemens Healthineers in the R&D department of magnetic resonance imaging. Here she is exploring different paths to fuel the next generations of MRI scanners with new technologies reaching from applying machine learning for automated image analysis to quantum computing for pulse sequence optimization.

Ashok Ajoy did his PhD from MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics under the supervision of Paola Cappellaro, graduating in Sep ’16. For this thesis he worked on quantum assisted sensing, simulation and control in spin systems. He then moved to UC Berkeley, where he is the lead postdoctoral associate in the group of Alexander Pines, leading efforts on optical spin hyperpolarization and quantum sensing.

Rivka Bekenstein, Harvard University

Rivka Bekenstein grew up in Jerusalem. Following her military service, she pursued her undergraduate studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she received her degree Cum Laude in 2010. Her fascination with nonlinear physics was planted during the course of her work on a research project in the laboratory of Prof. Jay Feinberg, and she chose to pursue this topic in graduate school.

She then joined Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev's group at the Technion for her PhD, where she had created the first simulation of the Newton-Schrodinger system. This is a model that unifies quantum mechanics with Newtonian gravity, describing the gravitational self-interaction of a quantum wavepacket. This model is mostly important due to the lack of a unified theory of quantum gravity. Rivka demonstrated the first experimental analogue of the Newton-Schrodinger model. She came up with an optical analogue by exploiting a nonlinear thermo-optic effect with an infinite interaction range, to induce a long-range nonlocal nonlinearity acting on the light. She was able to observe various gravitation effect in this nonlocal nonlinear regime of gravity. In another project, Rivka demonstrated control over light propagating in curved space settings, suggesting a new platoform of nanophotonic structures facilitating intricate designs in three dimensions inspired by general relativity concepts. In this setting, the evolution of light is controlled solely through the space curvature of the medium.

Rivka was an Adams Fellow during her PhD studies, and was awarded the Israel Physical Society award for a theorist graduate student (awarded to one graduate student per year). She graduated on 2017. She has been recently awarded the APS thesis award – the Deborah Jin Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics.

Rivka has won the Rothschild Fellowship to pursue a post-doctoral study. She decided to change direction to the field of quantum information science where her main goal is achieving better understanding on the relation between gravity and quantum mechanics. She is currently an ITAMP post doc at Harvard university, working with Prof. Mikhail Lukin, on quantum optical setting in relation to gravity.


Natalia Bruno is a postdoc at ICFO, in the group of Quantum Optics with cold atoms and non-classical light led by Prof. Dr. Morgan W. Mitchell. At ICFO she started assembling a single neutral atom trap in order to study its interaction with resonant single photons. This is the first single neutral atom trap experiment in Spain. She is supervising two PhD students and several summer and master students.

Natalia Bruno did her PhD within the Group of Applied Physics at the University of Geneva under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Gisin. Most of her research work was about engineering and characterizing heralded single photon sources in the telecom bandwidth and their use for quantum communication applications. She also worked on the experimental realization and characterization of an entangled state of light involving up to 500 photons on average, analogous in its quantum features to a Schroedinger cat state.

During her master thesis work Natalia participated in a research activity within the Quantum Optics Group in Rome, La Sapienza, concerning the generation and adoption for quantum information applications of two-photon multi-qubit hyperentangled states. She had the possibility to study the effects of decoherence in such multi-qubit states and to take part in an experimental realization of the Deutsch-Jozsa quantum algorithm.

Natalia Bruno always had a deep fascination with theoretical physics, which she has maintained during her experimental work. This combination of the two has given her a better understanding and appreciation of the underlying physics. The experimental work has also provided her with experience in working both individually and in a team environment.

Kristan Corwan, Kansas State University

Kristan is Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Physics at Kansas State University. She is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo (B.S. ’93, physics, magna com laude), and a graduate of the University of Colorado (M.S. ’96 and Ph.D. ’99, physics) where she worked under the direction of Carl Wieman in laser trapping and cooling. After a postdoctoral position at L’Ecole Normale Superieure with Christophe Salomon in ultracold quantum gases, she joined NIST, Boulder as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow working with optical frequency combs. At Kansas State University from 2003 – 2018, she has held the positions of assistant, associate, and full professor of physics, and held the Ernest and Lillian Chapin Chair in physics from 2017-18. In 2015-16, she was a JILA Visiting Fellow in the laboratory of Jun Ye, working on XUV frequency comb generation.

She has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, and secured over $7 million in external research grants. Her research in nonlinear optics and frequency metrology with gas-filled hollow-core fibers and novel laser development has been funded by the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. Recently, she is developing optical frequency comb technology for spectroscopy of agriculturally significant gases. She has directed an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site in the Kansas State Physics Department for over a decade.

She is chair-elect of the Division of Laser Sciences of the American Physical Society (APS), a former member of the Committee of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences of the National Research Council. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Jonathan F. Reichert foundation in support of advanced laboratory instruction in physics. In 2016, she co-directed the Optical Frequency Comb Winter School at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

Alexandre Cooper-Roy, California Institute of Technology

Alexandre Cooper-Roy is currently an IQIM postdoctoral scholar in the department of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy at Caltech. His research focuses on the development of novel approaches to assemble and control many-body quantum systems for applications in quantum computation, quantum simulation, and quantum sensing. In his postdoctoral research with Prof. Manuel Endres at Caltech, Alexandre has been building a new scientific apparatus to manipulate single strontium atoms in reconfigurable arrays of optical tweezers with Rydberg interactions. In his doctoral research with Prof. Paola Cappellaro at MIT, Alexandre combined quantum information and spin resonance techniques to control electron-nuclear spin defects in diamond and exploit their spin degrees of freedom for sensing time-varying magnetic fields at the atomic scale. In particular, he introduced a spectral reconstruction technique based on digital filters for measuring time-varying fields using quantum sensors, implemented spin resonance techniques to identify two electron-nuclear spin defects, and exploited entangled states of electron spins to estimate field parameters with improved precision.

Nils Engelsen, École Polytechnique

Nils Johan Engelsen completed his B.A. and M.Sci at the University of Cambridge, where his master’s project was supervised by Prof. Zoran Hadzibabic. He pursued his Ph.D. at Stanford University where he conducted cavity QED-based spin-squeezing experiments in the group of Prof. Mark Kasevich. He is now a postdoctoral scholar in Prof. Tobias Kippenberg’s group at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne where he works on nanomechanics and quantum optomechanics.

Ruffin recently received his PhD from the Lukin group in the Harvard Physics department. His research interests lie at the intersection of solid-state quantum optics and quantum information science, focusing in particular on cavity quantum electrodynamics using color centers in diamond. Recent work in this area includes the development of an integrated platform for quantum-optical networking using the silicon-vacancy (SiV) center in diamond and the demonstration of optically-mediated interactions between two cavity-coupled SiVs. Ruffin graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with degrees in both Physics and Chemistry and has also worked at Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project.
Kevin Fischer received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2018. His doctoral work on experimental and theoretical quantum optics was performed with Prof. Jelena Vučković in the Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford, and in particular, focused on
understanding the interactions of light and matter at the quantum scale. During this period he developed a new framework for understanding the generation of pulsed quantum light, especially the re-excitation dynamics of low-dimensional quantum systems under drive by quantum fields. Kevin is a Lu Stanford Graduate Fellow, National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow, and an Accel Innovation Scholar. He received his SB in Electrical Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Michael Gullans received his PhD from Harvard University working in quantum optics and condensed matter theory under the guidance of Prof. Mikhail Lukin. Following his PhD studies, he spent several years at the Joint Quantum Institute and NIST in Maryland, first as an NRC postdoctoral fellow and then as a research physicist, working under the supervision of Jacob Taylor in the quantum optics group at NIST. Currently Michael is an associate research scholar at Princeton University working in the condensed matter theory group on non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, mesoscopic physics, and quantum information science.

Yelena Guryanova, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Yelena completed her PhD at the University of Bristol, UK under the supervision of Prof. Sandu Popescu in 2016, after which she took up a post-doctoral position at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) Vienna, Austria, where she remains today. 

Currently, her research concerns foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum information with particular focus on causality, thermodynamics and non-locality.

Christopher Gutiérrez, University of British Columbia

I am a physicist, illustrator, and Prize Postdoctoral Fellow of the Quantum Matter Institute at The University of British Columbia, where I use momentum-resolved spectroscopic techniques to study the electronic properties of two dimensional (2D) van der Waals materials. I previously earned my PhD in Physics from Columbia University where I studied 2D materials using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy before joining the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a postdoctoral fellow. I’m originally from South Central Los Angeles, California and attended UCLA where I earned dual B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Physics.

Dr. Luis A. Jauregui is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics at Harvard University working under the direction of Prof. Philip Kim in collaboration with Hongkun Park, Mikhail Lukin and Federico Capasso groups. Dr. Jauregui’s research focuses on the experimental investigation of optoelectronic properties in van der Waals heterostructures from two dimensional layered materials. Dr. Jauregui earned his Ph.D. in the area of micro and nanotechnology from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in 2016. For his PhD studies, Dr. Jauregui worked under the guidance of Prof. Yong P. Chen and Prof. Leonid Rokhinson in the electron transport of topological quantum materials. He was the recipient of the Purdue Research Foundation Fellowships 2013 – 2015 and the Intel Ph.D. fellowship for the years 2012 – 2013. Dr. Jauregui earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from National University of Engineering in Lima, Peru in 2007.
Dr Knowles is a Postdoctoral Fellow working at Harvard on controlling single-atom thin materials using defects in diamond. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and an MSc from ETH Zurich. From 2014 to 2018 she was a Research Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge. Her work focuses on using quantum optics tools and defects in diamond to perform nanoscale quantum imaging in biological and solid-state systems.
Jeongwon Lee is a postdoctoral associate at the department of physics at MIT in Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle’s group. His research is mainly in the field of experimental ultracold atomic, molecular, and optical physics. In a recent work, his team at MIT studied new forms of matter utilizing ultracold atomic gases in highly engineered laser light potentials, and directly observed the supersolid phase of matter. Prior to joining MIT, Jeongwon was a postdoctoral researcher at the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS), the national metrology institute of South Korea. At KRISS, he led the efforts in two separate projects: 1) Observing the Berezinskii–Kosterlitz–Thouless transition with ultracold atoms held in 2D optical traps and 2) Developing new laser cooling techniques and investigating collisional properties of ultracold atoms. Jeongwon received a PhD in physics from the University of Michigan, where he performed precision molecular spectroscopy searching for fundamental symmetry violations.

Qiyu Liang was born and grew up in Beijing. She entered Peking University (also known as Beijing University) in 2005 to study physics. In the latter two years as an undergraduate, she studied surface modification for assembly of colloidal crystals under the guidance of Prof. Ziqiang Zhao.

In 2009, she was accepted to the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) at MIT. Soon she realized the department is quite different from what she thought. She switched to the Physics Department after talking to Prof. Vladan Vuletić. Since then, she has studied quantum nonlinear optics by coupling the photons to highly interacting atomic Rydberg states. The lab was finishing up a hollow-core fiber experiment when she arrived there. Together with her lab mates, she built the new Rydberg experiment. They first demonstrated single-photon nonlinearity with this then new approach involving highly-excited Rydberg states. Later, they observed symmetry-protected collisions between a propagating photon and a stored one. Most of her efforts, though, were dedicated to creating bound states of photons. She received her Ph.D. degree in 2017.

Although Qiyu’s Ph.D. research is very fascinating, she has been curious about Bose-Einstein condensate and has always wanted to make one. Therefore, she joined Dr. Ian Spielman’s group as a postdoc. They study ultra cold atoms in optical lattices subject to Raman-induced spin-orbit coupling. The system is an ideal platform to simulate particles moving in two-dimensional lattices with a uniform magnetic field perpendicular to the lattice plane.

Virginia Lorenz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Virginia (Gina) Lorenz is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. She received her BA in physics magna cum laude and mathematics, and her MS and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford in Atomic and Laser Physics, and an assistant professor of Physics at the University of Delaware until 2014. She joined the physics department at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign in 2015. Her group’s research centers on photonic quantum state generation and characterization, quantum memories, spectroscopy, and magnetometry.

Christine Muschik, Institute for Quantum Computing

Christine Muschik joined the Institute for Quantum Computing November 1, 2017 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

In Munich, Germany, Muschik studied physics at the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität. She completed her dissertation, “Quantum information processing with atoms and photons”, at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics under the supervision of J. Ignacio Cirac.

Her theoretical research in quantum optics earned her the Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship at ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Castelldefels, Barcelona. At ICFO, Christine was part of Maciej Lewenstein’s quantum optics theory group.

Muschik continued her postdoctoral research at IQOQI – Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Innsbruck, Austria, with Peter Zoller. She joins the University of Waterloo from the Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Innsbruck where she is a University Assistant.

Shruti Puri, Yale University

Shruti Puri obtained her doctorate in Applied Physics from Stanford University, where she was advised by Prof. Yoshihisa Yamamoto, in 2014. She then joined Prof. Alexandre Blais’s group at the University of Sherbrooke as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2017, she moved to Yale University to continue her postdoctoral research with Prof. Steven Girvin. Her research interests include quantum optics, open quantum systems, circuit quantum electrodynamics, quantum error correction, and continuous variable quantum computing. Although primarily a theorist, she works closely with experimentalists.

Serge Rosenblum, Yale University

A native of Belgium, Serge Rosenblum studied for his BA in physics and BSc in electrical engineering, earning both degrees summa cum laude from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in 2008. He remained at the Technion for his MSc (2010) in quantum optics, then moved to the laboratory of Prof. Barak Dayan in the Weizmann Institute Department of Chemical Physics, where he completed his PhD in 2014. Dr. Rosenblum undertook his postdoc at Yale University’s Department of Applied Physics, under the supervision of Prof. Robert Schoelkopf. Dr. Rosenblum is the winner of the John F. Kennedy PhD Excellence Award (2015), the Weizmann Institute’s highest academic honor. At the Technion, he earned the Norman and Barbara Seiden Family Prize (2008) a Dean’s Excellence Scholarship (2007), and was named to the President’s Honor List every semester of his studies. He will join the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Condensed Matter Physics in March 2019. His new lab will focus on superconducting devices for quantum information processing.

Vera Schäfer, University of Oxford

Vera studied physics at ETH Zürich, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree. She became interested in quantum computing early on, and did a 5 month research internship with Seigo Tarucha at the University of Tokyo during her master’s, working on Majorana Fermions. She did her master’s project with David Lucas in the Trapped Ion Quantum Computing Group at the University of Oxford and continued there for her PhD, which she completed in 2018 on ‘Fast gates and mixed-species entanglement with trapped ions’. She has been awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at Christ Church College, University of Oxford, which she will start October 2018. Her interests lie in experimental quantum computing and simulation, and how to use them to explore new physics.

Sydney Schreppler, University of California, Berkeley

Sydney Schreppler is a postdoctoral researcher in the Quantum Nanoelectronics Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. She investigates limits of quantum measurement, tests of quantum optics, and novel entanglement schemes using superconducting qubits and microwave resonators. For her PhD research, also at UC Berkeley, she studied analogous limits of quantum measurement in a cavity optomechanics system using ultracold atoms. She received her BS in Physics at Yale and is a 2017 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellow.

Shuo Sun, Stanford University

Shuo Sun obtained his PhD in 2016 from University of Maryland, College Park while working with Professor Edo Waks in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Joint Quantum Institute (JQI). During his PhD, he demonstrated the first nanophotonic quantum interface for a solid-state spin, by utilizing a single semiconductor quantum dot strongly coupled to a nanophotonic cavity. He was awarded for the grand prize of the Maiman student paper competition by OSA (2015) and nominated as 1 out of the 4 finalists for Carl E. Anderson Division of Laser Science Dissertation Award (2017) by APS for his pioneering work on experimental realizations of a solid-state spin-photon transistor. In 2017, he joined Stanford University as a postdoctoral research scholar, working with Professor Jelena Vučković in the Ginzton Laboratory. His research now focuses on quantum nanophotonics with color centers. Especially he is interested in coupling solid-state quantum emitters with inverse designed nanophotonic devices for generating tunable many-body interactions in a solidstate platform.

Raisa Trubko, Harvard University

Raisa Trubko is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University. She has a joint appointment with the Physics Department and the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. Previously, she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Arizona. She earned her Ph.D. in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2017. Trubko earned her B.S. in Optics and B.A. in Physics from the University of Rochester in 2010. Additionally, she founded the University of Arizona Women in Physics group in 2013 and served as its president until 2015. Her research interests include quantum sensing and atomic physics. For her Ph.D. research, Trubko used an atom interferometer to measure atomic polarizabilities, tune-out wavelengths, and laboratory rotation rates. Her current research focus is magnetic field imaging with NV centers in diamond for applications in paleomagnetism and beyond.

Mukund Vengalattore, Cornell University

Professor Mukund Vengalattore is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics at Cornell University. He has established Cornell’s first experimental program on ultracold quantum gases. He obtained his Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on studies of quantum optics and atom interferometry. He completed a postdoctoral stint at the University of California, Berkeley, where he led several studies on quantum magnetic fluids, Bose condensates and the application of ultracold quantum gases to magnetometry. His group at Cornell performs experiments related to a range of topics in AMO physics including ultracold lattice gases, hybrid quantum systems and optomechanics. His group’s notable contributions include the demonstration of measurement-backaction and the Quantum Zeno effect in ultracold lattice gases, the demonstration of spin-mediated sensing and quantum control in hybrid optomechanical systems, and the realization of two-mode squeezing and enhanced metrology in optomechanical devices.

Jelena Vučković, Stanford University

Jelena Vučković is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and by courtesy of Applied Physics at Stanford, where she leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab. She is also a faculty member of the Ginzton Laboratory, PULSE and SIMES Institutes at Stanford. Upon receiving her PhD degree from Caltech in 2002, she first worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford, and then joined the Stanford faculty in 2003. Vučković has received many awards including the Humboldt Prize (2010), the Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Technical University in Munich, Germany (2013), the Marko V. Jaric award for outstanding achievements in physics (2012), the DARPA Young Faculty Award (2008), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE in 2007), and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2006). She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the Optical Society of America (OSA).

Susanne Yelin, University of Connecticut and Harvard University

Susanne Yelin is a Professor of Physics at the University of Connecticut and a Senior Research Fellow in the Harvard Physics Department. Yelin received her diploma from the University of Stuttgart and her doctorate in 1998 from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, doing theoretical quantum optics with Axel Schenzle and Marlan Scully. She then had a succession of overlapping postdoctoral positions with Phil Hemmer at the Hanscom Airforce Base and MIT and with Kate Kirby at ITAMP (Harvard/Smithsonian Institute for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics), working on quantum optics in semiconductors and coherent atom-light interactions, including so-call "stopped light." She joined the faculty at UConn in 2002, and is dividing her time between UConn and Harvard since 2010, where she is also a principal investigator at the CUA (NSF Center for Ultracold Atoms). She received the 2013 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, was a 2009 Connecticut Women of Innovation Finalist and was among the first year Physical Review Outstanding Referees. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

At the University of Connecticut and Harvard University, she leads a theory group working on nonlinear, many-body, and molecular quantum optics. In particular, she has been developing an advanced theory of superradiance in large ensembles of radiators and their entanglement behaviour, studied the production and quantum information application of ultracold molecules, and has been developing the study of cooperative atomically thin mirrors and their applications. She has been collaborating with numerous experimental groups on molecules and superradiance. 


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