A University of Nottingham
physicist has won a major European grant to uncover more secrets of the
mind-bending world of quantum matter.
Dr Gerardo Adesso will use
the 1.35M Euro Starting Grant from the European Research Council to investigate
new and original manifestations of quantum mechanics. The work could speed up
the development of the quantum technologies of the future.
Scientists have known for
the past century that the quantum world of molecular, atomic and subatomic
particles operates very differently to the macroscopic world of objects and
forces in the universe. While originally considered paradoxical, quantum
effects such as coherence *and entanglement ** are already
being harnessed by scientists as resources for breakthrough technologies like
quantum computers, yet the quantum industrial revolution has still not properly
Looking in the right places
Dr Adesso’s project challenges
whether quantum research has been harvesting quantum resources in the right place
and conditions. Traditionally it is thought the best environment is an
isolated, static and temperature-controlled one but newly obtained evidence
purports that highly noisy and complex systems and environments previously
disregarded as unlikely sources, could in fact offer up novel and useful
Dr Adesso, Associate
Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences, said: “The project is deeply
driven by a scientific curiosity to understand the ultimate regime of validity
of quantum mechanics. Thanks to this ERC grant I can assemble a team to investigate
such foundational questions as well as to deliver results of practical
relevance for quantum information technologies, including optimal strategies
for quantum communication, metrology and thermal engineering.
“The ERC funding is crucial
for me to bring forward a blue-sky type of research, whereas national funding
at the moment is investing massively in immediate commercialisation of current
quantum technologies. I believe we still need to advance the fundamental
aspects. Only by learning as much as possible about ‘quantumness’, about what
genuinely makes quantum technologies more powerful than classical ones, and
under which conditions such advantages can be sustained, we will be able to
trigger the long-awaited quantum industrial revolution. In the next five years
I wish to contribute primarily to this exciting endeavour.”
Harmony from quantum discord
Professor Ian Dryden, Head
of the School of Mathematical Sciences, said: “I am absolutely delighted that
Dr Gerardo Adesso has been awarded this prestigious grant. Dr Adesso's
high-quality research into quantum information science has helped to put The
University of Nottingham at the leading edge of the discipline. His novel theoretical
work has great promise for the development of future quantum technologies, like
the superfast computers of tomorrow.”
Dr Adesso’s group at The University of
Nottingham has already challenged the established paradigm on quantum
correlations, identifying and interpreting (by both theory and experiment)
novel versatile resources that yield advantages in quantum information
processing, such as quantum discord.
The new research will try
to formally characterise all types of quantum correlations, within a hierarchy
dictated by their usefulness as resources, with a long-term goal to establish a
universal framework to reveal and exploit quantum enhancements in complex
systems, including physical, engineered, natural, biological and social
phenomena, inspired from last-century cybernetics.
* coherence: The ability of a quantum
system to display superposition and interference phenomena.
** entanglement: The phenomenon whereby the
quantum state of two or more particles cannot be separated into individual
states for each particle, even though they are spatially separated or not
physically connected. Measurements performed on one particle seem to
instantaneously affect the second particle entangled with it. Entanglement is a
resource for quantum communication, e.g. quantum teleportation, and quantum
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers, in the top 10 for student experience according to the Times Higher Education and winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.
The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC) is holding events throughout 2015 to celebrate 15 years as a pioneer of transnational education. Based in Semenyih, UMNC was established as the UK's first overseas campus in Malaysia and one of the first world-wide.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…
European Research Council
Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council is
the first European funding organisation for frontier research. The ERC operates
according to an 'investigator-driven', or 'bottom-up', approach, allowing
researchers to identify new opportunities in any field of research, without
thematic priorities. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative
researchers of any nationality and age to run five-year projects based in
Europe. Since its launch, the ERC has funded over 4,500 researchers. Under
Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme (2014-2020), the ERC has a budget
of over €13 billion.