Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Ravitej Uppu

A University of Iowa quantum optics physicist has been awarded funding from the United States Air Force to advance how information is transmitted securely at the quantum level. Ravitej Uppu, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will use the award through the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research to investigate how to harness optical losses for fiber optical quantum communication.

Fiber optical communication is a method of rapidly transmitting information between distant locations, commonly used by internet and telecommunications services. Optical losses occur when photons (particles of light) are either lost in transit or are lost in the electrical noise at the receiver location. 

Optical losses are considered undesirable because they deteriorate signal strength in fiber optic communication. Uppu aims to develop new strategies that utilize lost photons to improve the transmitted quantum information signal. To do so, he will draw from a special class of quantum mechanical systems called parity-time symmetry systems that have been explored for uses such as electromagnetic invisibility cloaks and energy-efficient lasers.

His research, carried out in collaboration with Omar Magaña-Loaiza from Louisiana State University, could accelerate quantum photonic technologies that aid in information transmission and computing. 

“By synergizing with our ongoing efforts on quantum entanglement generation, this new research project enables us to push the boundary on practical quantum technologies,” Uppu says. 

The three-year award is for $595,000.