Physics Speaker Tour 2019-02-12T12:22:04+00:00

2019 Physics Speaker Tour

Dr. John Donohue


February 28, UPEI

The Second Quantum Revolution

The 1950s: the early-century arguments over quantum foundations and interpretations were quietly swept aside once scientists and engineers demonstrated tools and technologies that could only be imagined with the help of quantum mechanics. The laser, nuclear magnetic resonance, atomic clocks, and semi-conductor technologies have revolutionized the world in ways big and small, and another quantum revolution lies around the corner. By combining tools from the information theoretic study of computer science and multiple disciplines of experimental physics, quantum computing, communications, and sensing are poised to set the technological standard going forward. In this talk, I will overview the field of quantum information science, from its background and history to current experimental progress and early industrial adoption. I will overview how the fundamental unit of quantum information, the quit, can be experimentally realized using structured superconducting circuits, the energetic structure of trapped ions, and the numerous degrees of freedom offered by single-photon level light. I will discuss how one of the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics, the measurement-disturbance relationship, can be used as a tool to guarantee secure communications. Finally, I will introduce how an information-theoretic approach to quantum measurement can provide new tools with real-world applications.


Dr. John M. Donohue is the Scientific Outreach Manager at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. His job is to communicate quantum science to audiences both broad and specialized. Dr. Donohue received his PhD in Physics with a Quantum Information specialization from the University of Waterloo in 2016, where his research focused on quantum nonlinear optics. Dr. Donohue has completed postdoctoral research in Paderborn, Germany, discovering quantum-compatible ultrafast all-optical pulse processing techniques enabled by nonlinear waveguide techniques. He received his BSc in Physics from the University of Windsor in 2011.

Dr. Pablo Bianucci


March 19th, UNB

March 20th, Univ. of Moncton

March 21, Acadia University

March 22, St. Francis Xavier

Tightly Squeezing Light in Small Spaces

Can we make lasers faster and more efficient? Can we explore the interaction between quantum mechanical matter and light? Can we detect the presence of a single virus in a drop of water? Can we play with the propagation speed of light pulses? It turns out that we can do that, and much more, by trapping light very tightly. Thanks to advances in fabrication technology it is now routinely possible to make structures that can keep light confined in microscopic spaces. When this happens, the interactions of light with matter can change in both quantitative and qualitative ways and we can harness these changes to our advantage. The workhorse device for trapping light at such small scales is the optical micro-resonator. I will introduce the working principles of different optical micro-resonators, how they can be fabricated, and some of the cool phenomena that have been demonstrated with them.


Pablo Bianucci did his undergraduate studies in Physics at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, finishing in 2001. He then moved to the University of Texas at Austin to do a PhD, which kept him busy until 2007. After that, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, McGill University, and Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. In 2012 he started as a professor at Concordia University’s Department of Physics, where he is now an Associate Professor. His research involves optical microresonators of different types, both looking at their fundamental physics and at possible applications.