Assistant Professor Hui Deng of the University of Michigan Department of Physics, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant for her project “Collective Quantum Phenomena of Matter and Light by Design.”

CAREER grants are the most prestigious awards given by the NSF and are awarded to junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the mission of their organizations.”

Quantum mechanics is the language for the microscopic world of single or few particles like photons and atoms. When the number of particles grows large, interactions destroy quantum correlations among the particles and the system enters the classical world. In some special cases, however, quantum correlations survive among a macroscopic number of particles in a macroscopically large system – leading to remarkable collective quantum phenomena and their applications. Examples include lasers, superconductors, and Bose-Einstein Condensation of atomic gasses used in precision measurements.

Professor Deng’s CAREER program will create, control and simulate novel collective quantum phenomena in a uniquely designable and scalable system, on a solid-state platform, with a built-in matter-light interface, at temperatures many orders of magnitude higher than required by, e.g., atomic gases. Professor Deng and her research team will accomplish this by developing a new cavity structure for a matter-light hybrid quantum gas – the semiconductor microcavity polaritons. The research will consist of a synergy of computer-aided design and modeling, nano-fabrication, and advanced spectroscopy and quantum optical measurements.

Through this cutting-edge research, the creation of collective quantum phenomena on a technologically practical platform will lay the ground for future quantum technologies, such as quantum light sources with ultra-low energy threshold, ultrafast opto-spintronics devices, and quantum simulators.

To learn more about Hui Deng’s research, click here.

Norman M. Leff Assistant Professor David Lubensky was also awarded an NSF career award this year; the news article can be found here.