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Free-Electron Quantum Optics

Speaker:Prof. Ido KAMINER
Affiliation:Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Solid-State Institute, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 3200003 Haifa, Israel
Date:September 15, 2023 (Friday)
Time:10:30 a.m.
Venue:Room 522, 5/F, Chong Yuet Ming Physics Building, The University of Hong Kong


Until recently, work in quantum optics focused on light interacting with bound-electron systems such as atoms, quantum dots, and nonlinear optical crystals. In contrast, free-electron systems enable fundamentally different physical phenomena, as their energy distribution is continuous and not discrete, allowing for tunable transitions and selection rules. 
Recent theoretical and experimental breakthroughs involving quantum interactions of free electrons spawned an exciting new field: free-electron quantum optics. We developed a platform for exploring free-electron quantum optics at the nanoscale, and used it to demonstrate the first coherent interaction of a free electron with a photonic cavity and with the quantum statistics of photons. 
These capabilities open new paths toward using free electrons as carriers of quantum information. Free electrons emerge as quantum optical sources for desired photonics states used in fault-tolerant quantum computation and communication such as Schrodinger cat states and GKP states. 
Concepts of quantum optics with free electrons also promote new modalities in electron microscopy. We demonstrated the first instance of coherent amplification in electron microscopy. Our vision is to develop a microscope that can image coherence, going beyond conventional imaging of matter to also image the coherent quantum state of matter and probe quantum correlations between individual quantum systems.


Ido Kaminer is an Associate Professor at the Technion. In his PhD research, Ido discovered new classes of accelerating beams in nonlinear optics and electromagnetism, for which he received the 2014 American Physical Society (APS) Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Laser Science. Ido was the first Israeli to win an APS award for his PhD thesis. As a postdoc at MIT, he established the foundations of macroscopic quantum electrodynamics (MQED) for photonic quasiparticles and used it to enable forbidden electronic transitions in atoms. As a faculty member, Ido created a paradigm shift in the understanding of free-electron radiation, connecting it to the field of quantum optics. He performed the first experiment on electron microscopy with quantum light, demonstrating that the quantum statistics of photons can be imprinted on the electron. For his achievements as a faculty member, Ido was recently elected to the Israeli Young Academy, which includes 32 young Israeli faculty members below the age of 45. He has won multiple awards and grants, including the ERC Starting Grant, the Krill Prize, and the 2022 Schmidt Science Polymath Award. Ido is the laureate of the 2021 Blavatnik Award in Physical Sciences & Engineering in Israel, and the recipient of the 2022 Adolph Lomb Medal, the top international award for a young scientist (age 35 or younger) in the field of optics.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend.