The ability to precisely determine physical quantities is a critical functionality in many research areas in science and engineering. We develop and apply advanced measurement tools so that we can study plasma behaviors, properties of nuclear and structured materials, shock wave dynamics, and biological systems. Meanwhile, we leverage quantum physics and phenomena to develop precision sensors that detect magnetic fields and inertial forces with unparalleled precision and accuracy, as well as sensitively measure changes in electromagnetic fields and temperature with nanometer-scale resolution.
The underlying basis in quantum sensing is the discrete nature of electron energies in atoms, ions, or atom-like systems in solids. Each allowed electron energy state, and transition between energy states, corresponds to a characteristic frequency. Measurement of this frequency can allow us to tell time (in the case of atomic clocks) and infer small physical changes in the environment (such as electromagnetic fields, inertial forces, pressure/strain, temperature). Professor Choy’s research group is characterizing and developing quantum sensing platforms based on neutral atoms and optically-active spin defects in diamond.
Professor Choy’s group is also interested in applying nanoscale optics to improve photon detection and miniaturize optical systems in classical and quantum sensors. Moreover, since preparation and measurement of quantum systems rely on their interactions with photons, robust approaches to control photon properties are critical to the utility and performance of quantum devices.