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Center for Quantum Research and Technology (CQRT)

Feb 2024

Zhu Named 2024 Young Investigator

Bihui Zhu, an assistant professor of atomic, molecular, and optical physics in the Center for Quantum Research and Technology, is one of 48 researchers named to the 2024 Young Investigator Program by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for her project titled “Harnessing quantum many-body phenomena with long-range interacting AMO platforms.” More information can be found here

Feb 2024

Quantum Researchers Simulate Unseen Superconductor Behavior

A depiction of the cavity used to simulate the Cooper pairs within a BCS superconductor. Credit: Steven Burrows/Rey and Thompson groups

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma and JILA at the University of Colorado Boulder have published collaborative research findings in the journal Nature that provide new insights into the behavior of superconducting materials and offer potential novel applications in the field of quantum technologies.

“Our paper reports a breakthrough in the development of quantum simulators, a type of specialized quantum computer that mimics complex physical systems that would be impossible to study or understand otherwise,” said Robert Lewis-Swan, co-author and an assistant professor of atomic, molecular and optical physics in OU’s Center for Quantum Research and Technology. “This work was heavily inspired by research I published in 2021 showing that this type of simulator, based on an atom-cavity system, could be adapted to observe phenomena that would be very difficult to investigate in other settings.”

The researchers explored the emergence of out-of-equilibrium phases in a Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer, or BCS, superconductor. The BCS superconductivity theory was developed in 1957 by John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer, and describes how electrons moving in opposite directions can bind together into pairs that can condense into a superfluid state that can conduct electricity with zero resistance at low temperatures.

“The simulator uses atoms cooled to almost one-millionth of a degree above absolute zero trapped inside a cavity with highly reflective mirrors that bounce light back and forth for a very long time. The atoms effectively interact with each other by emitting and absorbing photons of light inside the cavity,” Lewis-Swan said. “Through this atom-light system, we were able to observe all three dynamical phases in BCS superconductors for the first time.”

The breakthrough findings of this study provide new insights into the behavior of superconducting materials and offer potential applications in the field of quantum technology. They also demonstrate that programmable simulators using quantum atoms and light can be used to study models that don’t naturally occur in nature.

"It's intellectually stimulating to be able to work with these experimental groups that operate at such a high level,” Lewis-Swan said. "As a theorist, I can write equations down on a piece of paper and I run simple numerical calculations on my computer. But it's really exciting to see my theory come alive inside the real experimental system.”

Oct 2022

Congratulations to CQRT/P&A faculty: Madalina Furis, Ian Sellers, and Joseph Tischler on winning prestigious NSF award!

Madalina Furis, Ph.D. a professor of CQRT / Physics & Astronomy at the Univ of Oklahoma (OU), and Matthew White, Ph.D., associate professor of Physics and Materials Science at the Univ. of Vermont (UVM) lead an interdisciplinary team of eight scientists who just received 1.5 million dollars in funding from NSF to establish a Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) program in collaboration with scientists at the Yamagata and Osaka universities in Japan.

The two PIs and their collaborators, Profs. David Punihaole (UVM-Chemistry), Jihong Ma (UVM- Mechanical Engineering), Kyle Ikeda (UVM- Asian Languages and Literature), Ian Sellers (OU- CQRT / Physics & Astronomy), Joseph Tischler (OU- CQRT / Physics & Astronomy) and Binbin  Weng (OU- Electrical Engineering) will investigate harvesting, storing, and transferring of energy in soft electronic materials for cost-effective, high-throughput photovoltaics and flexible electronics applications, while training international scientists and promoting intercultural exchange. This partnership will bring the US-based participants unprecedented access to the remarkable soft-materials and optoelectronic device fabrication, characterization facilities, and extensive connections with the semiconductor industries of tomorrow.

In addition to research support, the program offers a generous summer stipend for an international research experience geared towards undergraduate physics, chemistry, and engineering undergraduate students recruited from four-year academic institutions of the researchers’ home states. The OU faculty will focus on recruitment among the tribal and rural institutions of Oklahoma, in order to find and support a diverse pool of the most promising talents in our state. The students will also benefit from language and culture training that will enable them to navigate the waters of international collaborative research in their future careers. This program will represent the crucible for the birth of a Global Scientist Certificate at both institutions.

July 2022

Congratulations to Professors Doerte Blume, Grant Biedermann and Alberto Marino for winning a competitive research grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation!

We’d like to congratulate our team of professors Doerte Blume, Grant Biedermann, and Alberto Marino on being awarded a grant of $1m from the W. M. Keck Foundation. W. M. Keck Foundation grant programs are highly competitive and support only pioneering discoveries in science, engineering, and medical research that will save lives, provide innovative solutions, and add to our understanding of the world.  Winning this grant by our team led by Prof Doerte Blume is a big step forward in achieving the goal of synchronizing different degrees of freedom, their spin and motional degrees of freedom, and modeling the complexity at the quantum level.

The team hopes to better understand how collective interactions emerge by creating couplings between the spins of two atoms side-by-side and coupling the motion of another set of atoms. Promising results can be developed via the grant in 3 years, which will contribute to the development of a quantum network.

The Centre for Quantum Research and Technology is very proud of Prof Doerte Blume, Prof Grant Biedermann, and Prof Marino’s success.

July 2022

Venkatesan Venky T named Fellow of the Royal Society!

Congratulations to CQRT Director Venky Venkatesan T who was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London, UK) in June 2022! He along with other elected fellows now join the ranks of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Dorothy Hodgkin, Isaac Newton, Lise Meitner, Stephen Hawking, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, and much more who all enriched Society with their expertise.

This honor emphasizes his exceptional contributions to science, especially physics. Venky in his career so far has helped our understanding of oxides and quantum materials’ properties and performance that support the application of science for the benefit of humanity. Read more on his achievements from this year:


September 28, 2021

Saesun Kim won the international Hackathon on quantum computing.

Ph.D student, Saesun Kim and his team won first place and received $5,000 from the international Hackathon for quantum computing hosted by creative destruction lab. His team developed to implement quantum machine learning and Grover search algorithms on weather-related image data for better predictions and detection of events such as forest fires and hurricane. Sixty-eight participants took part in the Hackathon, and the challenges were provided by D-Wave, Xanadu, IBMQ, and Zapata Computing. Participants were asked to develop a quantum software project or application to build a proposal for a quantum startup in just 48 hours. More details can be found on the official news release


September 23, 2021

An Ultra- low energy organic Memristor for Brain- like Electronics

Prof. Venkatesan and his team published a paper in Nature on September 3rd reporting on an organic electronic device that can make multiple decisions (as many as 71) as opposed to just two for a silicon transistor. Besides consuming ultra- low energy, these devices may enable simpler circuits that would be ideally suited for executing tasks that are suited for artificial intelligence and machine learning or brain- like electronics. To read more, visit "New Molecular Device Has Unprecedented Reconfigurability Reminiscent of Brain Plasticity" at OU's Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships and the corresponding publication, "Decision trees within a molecular memristor" in Nature Magazine.


August 12, 2021

Robert Lewis-Swan contributes to Science article

Robert Lewis-Swan, an assistant professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma and a CQRT member, contributed to a study led by physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published in Science. Read more here. Congratulations to Robert and collaborators!


April 13, 2021

Grant Biedermann wins Excellence in Research Grants Award

CQRT member Dr. Grant Biedermann was recognized by the Vice President for Research and Partnerships Annual Award for Excellence in Research Grants for obtaining extramural sponsored research awards of $1 million or more during the past year. Congratulations!


February 14, 2021

OU Names Inaugural Director of the CQRT

Thirumalai “Venky” Venkatesan, an internationally renowned leader in advanced technology innovation, will lead the University of Oklahoma Center for Quantum Research and Technology as director designate before becoming the center’s inaugural director July 1. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of the Bellcore Award of Excellence and the winner of the George E. Pake Prize awarded by American Physical Society in 2012, among several other awards. Venkatesan joins OU from the National University of Singapore, where he served as the director of the Nano Institute and was a Provost Chair Professor of electrical and computer engineering, physics and material science. He previously was a professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at the University of Maryland. Prior to this, he held multiple roles at Bell Labs, Bellcore and Rutgers University. More information can be found here.


February 3, 2021

Joseph Tischler joins CQRT and Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dr. Joseph Tischler joined the CQRT and the Department of Physics and Astronomy as an Associate Professor at the beginning of 2021. He holds an Avenir Foundation Chair in Condensed Matter Physics. His experimental research program focuses on light-matter interactions, including the development of photodetectors, lasers, and new quantum technologies. Welcome Joe!


December 21, 2020

Nature Physics article out: Dynamics of the weakly bound helium dimer

OU postdoc Qingze Guan and Blume collaborated with Maksim Kunitski, Reinhard Doerner and others from Frankfurt University and the GSI in Darmstadt on the helium dimer. The helium dimer is one of the most weakly-bound “naturally” occurring molecules. Since it’s so weakly bound, the preparation and manipulation of this fascinating molecule are rather tricky. Unless you isolate the dimer and are extremely careful, it tends to fall apart… Maksim and coworkers set up an ingeneous molecular beam experiment and used femto-second lasers to probe the system. The theory calculations by Qingze do not only match the experimental data, without a single adjustable parameter, but additionally provide unique insights. Check out the article entitled “Ultrafast manipulation of the weakly bound helium dimer”, which just appeared in Nature Physics, and the accompanying “News & Views” highlight entitled “Gently stirred not shaken” by Daniel Rolles.


December 01, 2020

Marino receives DOE grant for quantum enhanced fiber sensing

An interdisciplinary collaborative effort led by Alberto Marino involving Louisiana State University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory was funded by DOE. The initiative will leverage recent developments in quantum information science in sensing. The project will aim at improving current commercial techniques for leakage detection in the oil and gas industry by using quantum states of light to enhance the sensitivity of fiber optic sensors beyond the classical limit. The goal is to outperform the sensitivity of available state-of -the art techiques by one or two orders of magnitude. More information can be found here


November 20, 2020

Postdoctoral position in theoretical condensed matter physics

The Center for Quantum Research and Technology (CQRT) at the University of Oklahoma invites applications for one postdoctoral scholar position in Theoretical Condensed Matter physics, starting in the summer or fall of 2021. The successful candidate will work primarily in the group of Prof. Bruno Uchoa, and will interact with other members of the CQRT in the areas of Condensed Matter and Atomic, Molecular and Optical physics. Primary areas of interest include but are not limited to twisted graphene bilayers, topological phases of matter, and strongly correlated quantum systems. 

The position is expected to last for two years, with a possible extension for a third year upon availability of funds. Candidates should send a CV (pdf file) containing a list of publications, a description of main research achievements and arrange for three reference letters to be sent to Applications received by December 312020 will receive full consideration. The position will remain open until filled.


October 23, 2020

Announcing: Prospective Graduate Student (Virtual) Open House

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is hosting a prospective graduate student virtual open house on Tuesday, November 17, and Thursday, December 3. We will have representatives from the admission committee, our Women in Physics group, our Lunar Sooners group, and our physics graduate student association in attendance.  More information about the open house can be found here


October 18, 2020

Robert Lewis-Swan joins CQRT

Robert Lewis-Swan has recently joined the CQRT as an assistant professor of physics in the AMO group. Robert has expertise in non-equilibrium dynamics and quantum entanglement. Welcome!


October 02, 2020

Deborah Watson selected as APS fellow

Emeritus faculty Deborah Watson has been nominated Fellow of the American Physical Society for " the innovative use of group theory and graphical techniques toward the solution of the quantum many-body problem." Congratulations!


June 19, 2020

OU-WSU paper highlighted in Physical Review A

A joint theory-experiment paper by the Blume group from OU and the Engels group from Washington State University (WSU) was selected as an Editors' Suggestion by Physical Review A. The theory efforts were spearheaded by OU postdoc Dr. Qingze Guan and the experimental data were taken by Thomas Bersano and Dr. Sean Mossman, both from WSU. The work explores two realizations of a two-state model in a rubidium Bose-Einstein condensate, realized through Raman coupling of hyperfine states and lattice coupling in momentum space. The difference in the two realizations is highlighted by a particularly important role of interactions in the lattice coupling case. The work can be accessed at the APS website:


May 13, 2020

Schwettmann and Biedermann receive DOD DEPSCOR grant

OU Physics Professors Arne Schwettmann (PI) and Grant Biedermann (Co-PI) have been awarded $584,418 by the Department of Defense through the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) for their research project "Harnessing entanglement in ultracold atomic gases.”

For more info, see award announcement


April 22, 2020

Alberto Marino and Ian Sellers awarded Presidential Professorship

CQRT members Alberto Marino and Ian Sellers were the recipients of the Ted S. Webb Presidential Professorship awarded by the University of Oklahoma. The award recognizes faculty members who excell in all their professional activities and who relate those acticities to the students they teach and mentor. 


For more information, see announcement.


April 20, 2020

Physicists Develop Approach to Increase Performance of Solar Energy

Members of the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices Group, led by OU associate professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ian Sellers, along with theorists at Arizona State University, led by David K. Ferry, have demonstrated a breakthrough toward the development of a hot carrier solar cell. The work was recently published in Nature Energy

See more in the press release


Nov 08, 2019

CQRT Director interviewed BY KGOU

The CQRT director Alberto Marino was interviewed by KGOU at the inauguration of the Center for Quantum Technology. The area of quantum physics could generate billions of dollars worth of technology over the next decade. The interview can be found at


Oct 30, 2019

Post doctoral and graduate research positions available

Now accepting applications to join a vibrant and exciting new research team focused on implementations of quantum information processing in neutral atom systems.  Our group explores facets of quantum control ranging from quantum sensing with atom interferometers to multi-atom entanglement using interactions between ultra-cold Rydberg atoms in optical tweezers. Contact Grant Biedermann for more information:


October 25, 2019

Blume Group has Physical Review A hat-trick!

The Blume group published three papers in October issue of Physical Review A

OU postdoc Dr. Qingze Guan carefully mapped out the energy landscape of two and three identical bosons in the presence of one-dimensional spin-orbit coupling, shedding new light on Efimov’s generalized radial scaling law:

published October 21, 2019

Prof. Doerte Blume collaborated with Prof. Dajun Wang’s experimental group from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on an intriguing dimer-dimer inelastic collision resonance. Thanks to the Wang team for taking such beautiful experimental few-body data!

published October 14, 2019

OU postdocs Dr. Jianwen Jie and Dr. Qingze Guan explored the performance of so-called SU(1,1) interferometers and investigated the benefits of entangling spin-dependent collisions for state preparation and state readout:

published October 11, 2019


August 12, 2019

CQRT Dedication Ceremony on October 25

The dedication of the Center for Quantum Research and Technology (CQRT) will take place on Friday, October 25 at 2:30pm.

Read Full Story

October 20, 2019

Presidential Dream Course on Quantum Hybrid Systems

A second quantum technology revolution is upon us!  The first used the laws of quantum physics to design systems in which the energy is “quantized,” to allow only certain values. This idea is at the heart of technology ranging from TV remotes to supercomputers. Now, two other features of quantum mechanics, entanglement and superposition, are becoming accessible to control. To do so we must unite the incredible delicacy and uniformity of single atoms with the robust control and reproducibility of larger devices, forming “quantum hybrid systems.” 

This Presidential Dream course will give students competence in the fundamentals so that they may pursue research and careers in this field.  As part of the course world experts will come to OU to give lectures and meet with students.  

More Information

August 8, 2019

CQRT Opens Multiple Faculty Positions

The Center for Quantum Research and Technology is receiving applications for five faculty positions in the areas of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) and Condensed Matter (CM) physics.

More Information and Apply

June 22, 2019

OU Physicists Predict Novel Mott State in Graphene at the Magic Angle

A University of Oklahoma physics group sheds light on a novel Mott state observed in twisted graphene bilayers at the 'magic angle' in a recent study just published in Physical Review Letters.

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May 23, 2019

Schwettmann Wins NSF Career Award

OU Physics Professor Arne Schwettmann is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development Program) Award for research on ultra cold atoms.

Read Full Story

March 1, 2019

Theory-Experiment Team Observed Quantum Mechanical Two-Body Collisions One at a Time

To better understand atomic collisions, Qingze Guan of the University of Oklahoma in Norman and colleagues from  Heidelberg University developed a way to watch two atoms crash together.

Read Full Story