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Two researchers reinforce the quantum physics team

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Published on Wednesday, 10 February 2021

As of January 2021, Professor Adolfo del Campo and Dr. Aurélia Chenu have joined the Department of Physics and Materials Science (DphyMS) at the University of Luxembourg to establish the “Quantum Science and Technology” and the “Quantum Dynamics and Control” groups, respectively. 

Both groups belong to the Theory and Materials Modelling Cluster. DPhyMS is very excited to have these two new theory groups on board to reinforce the “quantum physics” effort at the University of Luxembourg. DPhyMS is now composed of 4 clusters and 19 research groups.

Adolfo del Campo and Aurélia Chenu share their background, experience and research activities.

Could you introduce yourself?

Adolfo: “I am a Spanish theoretical physicist working at forefront of quantum science and technology. This is a thriving research field coalescing diverse tools and concepts. My research is at the interface of quantum information theory, statistical mechanics, ultracold quantum matter and quantum control. After earning my PhD at the University of Basque Country (Spain) in 2008, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London (UK) and Ulm University (Germany). From there I moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow and established my first research group at The University of Massachusetts Boston in 2014, where I was tenure associate professor. Before moving to Luxembourg I worked at the Basque Foundation for Science (Ikerbasque) as a full research professor at the Donostia International Physics Center in Spain.” 

Aurelia: “I am a theoretical quantum physicist moving from Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), Spain. After a PhD at EPFL developing simulation tools for nuclear energy, I was granted various postdoctoral fellowships to investigate the importance of quantum effects in biological systems. This lead me to touch upon different fields on research, including quantum optics, chemical physics, quantum thermodynamics… the core one being theory of open quantum systems. I have had the chance to do research in dynamical groups in Prague, the University of Toronto, MIT and LANL and have co-lead a group at DIPC.” 

Why did you join the University of Luxembourg? 

Adolfo: “I learned about the University of Luxembourg during a conference at Harvard University, where I met Massimiliano Esposito, a faculty member at the Department of Physics and Materials Science. Later I got to know DphyMS, and the thriving research and collegial atmosphere have been major factors.” 

Aurelia: “I’m excited to be joining a thrilling research environment and wish to build a dynamical group that contributes to the advancement of research and findings in quantum dynamics and control. Beyond the fruitful research environment and future colleagues at DPhyMS, the University of Luxembourg is attracting to me because of strong funding schemes that can help develop my own research ideas. Also, I am happy to be back in Europe and enjoy the multicultural diversity offered by the country.”  

What will be your main research activities and challenges? 

Adolfo: “This is a unique era for quantum science. Theoretical concepts find its ground in the laboratory at an unprecedented pace and it has become possible not only to test fundamental quantum properties, but to harness them for applications. Research in quantum technologies has already led to novel computational paradigms, quantum-secured communication, and the design of a quantum internet, to name some examples. This is a highly creative, interdisciplinary, and quickly moving field, which makes it challenging and exciting at once.” 

Aurelia: “My group will investigate dynamical properties of quantum systems that interact with an environment, and develop protocols for their control. Apart from the fundamental understanding, this can have targeted applications and help the development of technologies such as quantum computers or efficient energy systems.”