Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Novel “epsilon-near-zero” materials, where the electric permittivity vanishes at certain wavelengths, have recently been demonstrated to have very high nonlinear optical response [1], i.e. these materials enable photons effectively to interact with each other. These interactions could be be used to manipulate the intrinsic quantum fluctuations in the light - an effect known as quantum squeezing. Quantum squeezing has applications in precision measurement, quantum information and quantum communication.

This project will analyse the interaction between photons and degenerate electrons at the quantum level (existing theory so far has just focussed on the classical response), to produce quantitative predictions of the quantum squeezing available in such materials.

The project will involve a combination of analytic and computational work. Prior computational experience (in any language) would be an advantage. During the project you will have the opportunity to learn the basics of stochastic calculus and how to implement stochastic processes numerically.

[1] Alam, M. Zahirul, Sebastian A. Schulz, Jeremy Upham, Israel De Leon, and Robert W. Boyd. “Large Optical Nonlinearity of Nanoantennas Coupled to an Epsilon-near-Zero Material” Nature Photonics 12, no. 2 (2018): 79–83.

Project members

Dr Joel Corney

Senior Lecturer