INDIANAPOLIS - This summer, as he has for the past five years, Zhe-Yu "Jeff" Ou, Ph.D., a faculty member of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, traveled to China, where he is leading the establishment of a network of quantum information laboratories. Quantum information science, which uses photons -- units of light -- to carry and process information, may someday produce the successor to today's ubiquitous silicon-based computer.
A professor of physics in the School of Science and an internationally respected researcher in experimental quantum optics, Dr. Ou is establishing the quantum information labs throughout China with the support of the Chinese government. He also is continuing his own research in these labs, which are outfitted with the most advanced equipment available.
"The collaboration is beneficial to researchers and students in China and at IUPUI, even though IUPUI students will not travel to the labs. The Chinese receive counsel on establishing modern and highly technical laboratories for their researchers and students. And I am able to use the new equipment in China to prove theories of quantum behavior of light based on work conducted in our IUPUI lab, giving us the opportunity to continue advanced research in this field by testing what now only exists in theory and bringing that knowledge back to students and fellow researchers at IUPUI," said Ou.
"While this is not a School of Science program, the fact that Ou engages in this work benefits IUPUI undergraduate and graduate students in the lab and the classroom through the give and take of ideas, guest lecturers and even water cooler conversations," noted Gautam Vemuri, Ph.D., professor of physics and former department chair at IUPUI.
"This is one of the most exciting fields in physics today. We know that what electrons are doing in the computer on your desk or in my lab can be done more efficiently using the internal properties of photons. With light waves, information can be processed faster than with electronics. It's really one of the most important fields of physics in this decade," said Vemuri.
The quantum information lab program has helped establish the new field in China and is affiliated with some of the most prestigious universities in that country including the University of Science and Technology of China, a national research university founded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Tianjin University and East China Normal University. Ou was based in Shanghai this summer working with East China Normal University.