Our projects

Our projects

Molina-Terriza group

Quantum Nano-Photonics

The next revolution in physics will necessarily help us understand how to reconcile quantum physics with our “classical world” and general relativity. In our research group we contribute to that aim by exploring the frontiers between the fields of Quantum Optics and Nanophotonics and pushing the technological limits of our control over light and quantum matter.

Further information

In our laboratories we have developed an unprecedented control over the properties of light beams: polarization, frequency, linear and angular momentum and their quantum correlations. These complex light beams allow us to study the physical interactions of photons with fabricated nanostructures.

The applications of these lines of research are many. We aim to build the new generation of biosensors, based on quantum plasmonics, use optically levitated nanoparticles to measure with extreme precision gravitational fields and develop new optical instruments which will allow us to unveil all the information carried by the light emitted from objects (from molecules to stars).


Mathieu L. Juan
Nora Tischler
Alexander Büse
Andrea Tabacchini
Reece Roberts
Richard Neo


Eugene Tan
Xavier Vidal
Ivan Fernandez-Corbaton
Xavier Zambrana-Puyalto
Alex Barbara
Matt van Breugel


X. Zambrana-Puyalto, X. Vidal and G. Molina-Terriza Angular momentum-induced circular dichroism in non-chiral nanostructures Nature Comm., 5, 4922 (2014)

I. Fernandez-Corbaton, X. Zambrana-Puyalto, N. Tischler, X. Vidal, M. L. Juan, and G. Molina-Terriza Electromagnetic Duality Symmetry and Helicity Conservation for the Macroscopic Maxwell’s Equations Phys. Rev. Lett., 111, 060401 (2013)

F. Tamburini, B. Thide, G. Molina-Terriza, and G. Anzolin Twisting of light around rotating black holes Nature Physics, 7, 195-197 (2011)

G. Volpe, G. Molina-Terriza and R. Quidant Deterministic subwavelength control of light confinement in nanostructures Phys. Rev. Lett., 105, 216802 (2010)

G. Molina-Terriza, J. P. Torres, and L.Torner Twisted Photons Nature Physics, 3, 305 (2007)

Steel group

Integrated Nonlinear Quantum Photonics

While the discipline of quantum optics is 50 years old, the past 5 years has seen a revolution as quantum experiments involving photons have moved from bulk optics with lenses and mirrors into integrated photonic  circuits.  Chip-based technologies allow us to incorporate dozens of optical components into solid state devices of just a few square centimetres. This transition is key to harnessing photons for applications in quantum  information including secure communication, ultra precise metrology, quantum computing and fundamental tests of quantum mechanics.

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Michael Steel Research Group

Our research addresses these challenges at the interface of nonlinear photonics and quantum optics. Our theory program studies the basic physics and design of on-chip sources for making non-classical states of light  through nonlinear processes involving random fluctuations of the quantum vacuum, as well as complex circuits for multiphoton quantum walks and other quantum processing. In the laboratory, we are using waveguide  writing by high power femtosecond lasers  to develop both photon light sources and three-dimensional circuits that are completely  contained in single chips of glass. We have research student opportunities for  mathematically-inclined theorists, highly practical experimentalists and people anywhere in between.


Prof. Michael Withford
Dr. Luke Helt (Macquarie University Research Fellow)


Dr. Zhizhong Yan
Zachary Chaboyer 
Dan Blay (MRes)


Z. Chaboyer, T. Meany, L. G. Helt, M. J. Withford, and M. J. Steel, Tunable quantum interference in a 3D integrated circuit (2015) Scientific Reports  5 , 9601:1–5

L. G. Helt, J. E. Sipe, and M. J. Steel, Spontaneous parametric downconversion in waveguides: What’s loss got to do with it? (2015) New Journal of Physics  17 , 013055:1–17

M. J. Collins, C. Xiong, I. H. Rey, T. D. Vo, J. He, S. Shahnia, C. Reardon, T. F. Krauss, M. J. Steel, A. S. Clark, and B. J. Eggleton, Integrated spatial multiplexing of heralded single photon sources (2013) Nature Communications  4 , 2582:1–7

F. A. Inam, M. D. W. Grogan, M. Rollings, T. Gaebel, J. M. Say, C. Bradac, T. A. Birks, W. J. Wadsworth, S. Castelletto, J. R. Rabeau and M. J. Steel, Emission and non-radiative decay of nanodiamond NV centers in a low-refractive index environment (2013) ACS Nano  7 , 3833–3843

M. Delanty and M. J. Steel, Discretely observable continuous-time quantum walks on Möbius strips and other exotic structures in 3D integrated photonics (2012) Physical Review A  86 , 043821:1–8

Volz group

Quantum Materials

The Quantum Materials and Applications (QMAPP) group focuses on cross-disciplinary research activities in quantum physics, nanotechnology and material science. With state-of-the-art facilities located at Macquarie University and CSIRO, Lindfield, we are part of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS), which is a multi-institutional national centre whose mission is to study and harness the features of quantum physics for the realisation of future quantum-based technologies.

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In the QMAPP group we specifically study material systems such as nano-diamonds containing defect centres and nanoscale low-dimensional GaAs-based emitters, and explore their potential for quantum-based applications ranging from spin-based quantum information technology, to strongly coupled light-matter interfaces for non-linear quantum photonics, to high-resolution single-spin sensing both for exploring other novel quantum materials at low temperatures and for potential biomedical applications.


Dr Carlo Bradac (Postdoc)
Dr Xavier Vidal Asensio (Postdoc)
Matt van Breugel (PhD)
Andrew Wood (PhD)
Sarath Raman Nair (MSc)

Berry group

Quantum simulations and algorithms

Our research is in the areas of quantum information and quantum optics. In quantum information, we are performing research into the most efficient ways of simulating physical quantum systems on a quantum computer. Such simulations are a very promising application for quantum computers, because simulating quantum systems is extremely important in areas such as design of molecules, and it is natural for quantum computers to give exponential speedups.

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Experimental scheme

Our research has shown how to perform simulations far more efficiently than the traditional product formula approach, and we are now researching the specific application of these techniques to quantum chemistry.

In the area of quantum optics, we are researching the most accurate ways to perform phase measurements. Phase measurements are needed for precision measurement, for example in gravitational wave detection. While coherent states as produced by a laser give one level of precision, special nonclassical states such as squeezed states or “NOON” states can potentially give much higher precision. Our research shows how to best perform measurements optimised for loss, how to resolve ambiguities in phase measurements arising from use of nonclassical states, and how to best use nonclassical states for tracking of a varying phase.


Hossein T. Dinani


D. W. Berry, A. M. Childs, R. Cleve, R. Kothari, and R. D. Somma, Simulating Hamiltonian dynamics with a truncated Taylor series , Physical Review Letters 114, 090502 (2015)

D. W. Berry, A. M. Childs, R. Cleve, R. Kothari, and R. D. Somma, Exponential improvement in precision for simulating sparse Hamiltonians, In Proceedings of the 46th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, pages 283-292 (2014)

D. W. Berry, M. J. W. Hall, and H. M. Wiseman, Stochastic Heisenberg Limit: Optimal Estimation of a Fluctuating Phase, Physical Review Letters 111, 113601 (2013)

H. Yonezawa, D. Nakane, T. A. Wheatley, K. Iwasawa, S. Takeda, H. Arao, K. Ohki, K. Tsumura, D. W. Berry, T. C. Ralph, H. M. Wiseman, E. H. Huntington, and A. Furusawa, Quantum-enhanced optical-phase tracking, Science 337, 1514 (2012)

G. Y. Xiang, B. L. Higgins, D. W. Berry, H. M. Wiseman, and G. J. Pryde, Entanglement-enhanced measurement of a completely unknown phase, Nature Photonics 5, 43 (2011)

D. W. Berry and A. I. Lvovsky, Linear-Optical Processing Cannot Increase Photon Efficiency, Physical Review Letters 105, 203601 (2010)

Image source:
Scientific Reports 4, 6955 (2014) DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep06955

Brennen group

Quantum Many Body science

Nature is a wondrous place and it’s not a finished product. I grew up in Alaska and received my PhD in theoretical physics from the University of New Mexico under the advisement of Prof. Ivan Deutsch. Following post-doc positions at NIST Gaithersburg/UMaryland, and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Austria I assumed an Assoc. Prof. position at Macquarie in 2007.

Further information

Brennen Group

My main interests are how to use physical laws we know, particularly quantum mechanics, to probe in ever more exquisite detail the manifestations of nature — from elementary interactions to the collective behaviour of complex many particle systems. With new engineered quantum systems we can build quantum enhanced sensors like magnetometers and gravimeters to full bore quantum computers that open up entirely new playgrounds of exploration.


Dr Sukhi Singh (Postdoc)
Dr Rob Pfeifer (Postdoc)
Ayeni Babatunde (PhD)
Nathan McMahon (PhD, co-supervised with Prof. G. Milburn at U. Queensland)


Dr Lauri Lehman – PhD awarded 2013 (currently post-doc at U. Aachen)
Trond Linjordet – MS awarded 2013
Dr Gerardo Paz-Silva (co-supervised with Prof. J. Twamley) – PhD awarded 2011 (currently post-doc at U. Amherst, USA)
Dr Mauro Cirio (co-supervised with Prof. J. Twamley) – PhD awarded 2014 (currently post-doc at Rikken Japan)
Dr Tomasso Demarie (co-supervised with A. Prof. D. Terno) – PhD awarded 2014 (currently post-doc at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore)
Dr Andrew Darmwan (co-supervised with Prof. S. Bartlett at U. Sydney) – PhD awarded 2014


S. Iblisdir, M. Cirio, O. Boada, and G.K. Brennen Low Depth Quantum Circuits for Ising Models (2014) Annals of Physics 340, 205

T. Demarie, T. Linjordet, N. Menicucci, and G.K. Brennen Detecting Topological Entanglement Entropy in a Lattice of Quantum Harmonic Oscillators (2014) New Journal of Physics 16 085011

S. Singh, R. Pfeifer, G. Vidal, and G.K. Brennen Matrix Product States and Efficient Simulation of Anyons (2014) Physical Review B 89, 075112

L. Lehman, V. Zatloukan, G.K. Brennen, J.K. Pachos, and Z. Wang Quantum Walks with Non-Abelian Anyons (2011) Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 230404

G. K. Brennen and A. Miyake Measurement-based quantum computer in the gapped ground state of a two-body hamiltonian (2008) Phys. Rev. Lett. 101(1):010502

Brown group

Biological Quantum science

In recent years, nanodiamonds (< 100nm in size) have emerged from primarily an industrial and mechanical applications base, to potentially underpinning sophisticated new technologies in quantum science and biology. In addition to their chemical and physical stability, nanodiamonds have color centres whose properties make them attractive bio-labels for imaging and tracking.

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Nano-diamonds attached to a bio-molecule

The bright and stable photoluminescence, as well as the straightforward surface functionalisation for targeting to biological structures, has allowed us to begin to probe cellular processes down to the single-molecule scale; one of the primary goals of biomedical science and, ultimately, therapeutics.

Research in our group is focused on developing methods to process detonation nanodiamonds to use for the imaging and tracking of targeted biomolecules in complex biological systems. This includes research on the processing and characterising of small nanodiamonds with color centres (~4 to 30nm), as well as controlling and tailoring their surface chemistry, for use in biological environments and quantum nanotechnologies. We are exploring applications ranging from using nanodiamonds as superior biological markers to, potentially, developing novel bottom-up approaches for the fabrication of hybrid quantum devices that would bridge across the bio/solid-state interface.


Dr Nicole Cordina (Postdoc)
Phani Potluri (PhD)
Ishan Rastogi (PhD


Dr Thomas Volz
Dr Carlo Bradac


C. Bradac, J. M. Say, I.-D. Rastogi I.-D., T. Volz and L. J. Brown Nano-assembly of nanodiamonds by conjugation to actin filaments (In Press, 2015) Journal of Biophotonics

Geiselmann M, Juan ML, Renger J, Say JM, Brown LJ, de Abajo FJG, Koppens F, Quidant R Three-dimensional optical manipulation of a single electron spin (2013) Nature nanotechnology 8, 175-179

Say JM, Bradac C, Gaebel T, Rabeau JR, Brown LJ Processing 15-nm Nanodiamonds Containing Nitrogen-vacancy Centres for Single-molecule FRET (2012) Australian Journal of Chemistry 65, 496-503

Say JM, van Vreden C, Reilly DJ, Brown LJ, Rabeau JR, King NJ Luminescent nanodiamonds for biomedical applications (2011) Biophysical Reviews 3, 171-184

Cresser group

Open Quantum systems

My research is concerned with the properties of open quantum systems, with the work primarily done in collaboration with Steve Barnett and his group at the University of Glasgow and Erika Andersson and her group at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Further information

James Cresser Research Group

Recent projects have included studies of Markovian and non-Markovian master equations, (unpublished) studies of heat transport in non-equilibrium quantum thermodynamical systems, and more recently finding exact solutions to models of systems strongly coupled to their environment.


Chaitanya Joshi, Patrik Öhberg, James D. Cresser and Erika Andersson, Markovian evolution of strongly coupled harmonic oscillators Phys. Rev. A 90 063815 (2014).

Ayeni M. Babatunde, James Cresser and Jason Twamley, Using a biased quantum random walk as a quantum lumped element router Phys. Rev. A 90 012339 (2014).

Stephen M. Barnett, James D. Cresser, John Jeffers and David T. Pegg, Quantum probability rule: a generalization of the theorems of Gleason and Busch N. J. Phys. 16 043025 (2014).

Michael J. W. Hall, James D. Cresser, Li Li, and Erika Andersson, Canonical form of master equations and characterization of non-Markovianity Phys. Rev. A 89 042120 (2014).

Bellomo, R. Lo Franco, E. Andersson and J. D. Cresser, Dynamics of correlations due to a phase noisy laser Phys. Scr. T 147 014004 (2012).

Helt group

Integrated Nonlinear Quantum Optics

The field of nonlinear optics, first explored over 50 years ago, continues to see improvements in conversion efficiency and reductions in system size today. Advances in materials science research and fabrication techniques are pointing the way to the next generation of nonlinear devices for use in sensors, labs on a chip, and telecommunications systems.

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Luke Helt Research Group

While these structures are often studied with respect to classical conversion processes, such as second harmonic generation and four wave mixing, quantum processes such as spontaneous parametric down-conversion (SPDC) and spontaneous four wave mixing (SFWM) have not been as intensely investigated. However, any structure that has been designed to enhance a classical nonlinear optical process will also enhance the corresponding quantum nonlinear optical process, and thus many structures exist today that could potentially be used for the generation of entangled photon pairs and heralded single photons.

As not all sources and applications are equal, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we must devise ways to alter photon properties after they are created, and this is a research avenue that I am currently pursuing.


Daniel Blay (MRes)


Z. J. Chaboyer, T. Meany, L. G. Helt, M. J. Withford, M. J. Steel, Tunable quantum interference in a 3D integrated circuit (2015) Sci. Rep. 5 , 9601

L. G. Helt and M. J. Steel, Effect of scattering loss on connections between classical and quantum processes in second-order nonlinear waveguides (2015) Opt. Lett. 40 , 1460-1463

L. G. Helt , J. E. Sipe, and M. J. Steel, Spontaneous parametric downconversion in waveguides: what’s loss got to do with it? (2015) New J. Phys. 17 , 013055 

I. Jizan, A. S. Clark, L. G. Helt, M. J. Collins, E. M ä gi, C. Xiong, M. J. Steel, and B. J. Eggleton, High-resolution measurement of spectral quantum correlations in the telecommunication band (2014) Opt. Commun. 327 , 45-48

R. T. Horn, P. Kolenderski, D. Kang, C. Scarcella, A. D. Frera, A. Tosi, L. G. Helt, S. V. Zhukovsky, J. E. Sipe, G. Weihs, A. S. Helmy, and T. Jennewein, Inherent polarization entanglement generated from a monolithic semiconductor chip (2013) Sci. Rep. 3 , 2314

Pfeifer group

Quantum Many Body Physics

I am interested in the study of systems of particles having non-bosonic, non-fermionic statistics. Although systems in three dimensions may only be bosonic or fermionic, in two dimensions other possibilities exist. The particles in these systems frequently exhibit strange and unintuitive behaviours, and relatively little is known about their collective properties.

Further information

Robert Pfeiffer Research Group

I use recent developments in tensor network algorithms to probe the behaviours of these systems.

As a complement to my research into anyons I am also involved in the development of cutting-edge tensor network algorithm techniques, and the description of anyons using tensor category-based notation systems.


R.N.C. Pfeifer, Phase diagram for hard-core Z3 anyons on the ladder (2015) arXiv:1505.06928

R.N.C. Pfeifer, S. Singh Finite Density Matrix Renormalisation Group Algorithm for Anyonic Systems (2015) arXiv:1505.00100

R.N.C. Pfeifer, J. Haegeman, and F. Verstraete Faster identification of optimal contraction sequences for tensor networks (2014) Phys. Rev. E 90 , 033315

R.N.C. Pfeifer, Measures of entanglement in non-Abelian anyonic systems (2014) Phys. Rev. B 89 , 035105

R.N.C. Pfeifer, P. Corboz, O. Buerschaper, M. Aguado, M. Troyer, and G. Vidal, Simulation of anyons with tensor network algorithms (2010) Phys. Rev. B 82 , 115126

Terno group

Fundamental Quantum information

Quantum theory and general relativity are often described as the two pillars of modern physics; this metaphor is apt in more than one way. The two theories are built on different foundations— probabilities that evolve in time cannot be easily reconciled with a deterministic unfolding of events in a dynamical spacetime.

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Their various aspects are verified with a spectacular precision on scales ranging from cosmic distances to fractions of a millimeter in the case of gravity and from 10^−19 m to 143 km for quantum mechanics, but almost exlusively in separate regimes.

The unification of quantum theory with gravity is perhaps the biggest open problem of theoretical physics. Such a theory is not only needed for logical reasons (part of our research is to understand them better!), but also for the understanding the early Universe, the final fate of black holes, and arguably the very structure of space and time. This is an old problem, almost as old as quantum mechanics itself.

Information theory, and the advances of quantum information in the last thirty or so years form the background of our research. It deals with complexity of physical process, relativistic quantum information, quantum foundations, precision tests of relativity, effects of quantum gravity and black hole physics. The common theme of this research is that information is physical. Its processing is a branch of physics, while study of physics involves the study of information. The technical cohesion follows from a central role of quantum correlations and a variety of entropy-like quantities that are used to characterize them.


Dr. Valentina Baccetti (Postdoc)
Aida Ahmadzadegan (PhD)
Alexander Smith (PhD)


A. Brodutch, A. Gilchrist, T. Guff, A. R. H. Smith, and D. R. Terno Post-Newtonian gravitational effects in optical interferometry (2015) Physical Review D 91, 064041

R. Ionicioiu, R. B. Mann, D. R. Terno Determinism, independence and objectivity are inconsistent (2015) Physical Review Letters 114, 060405

R. Ionicioiu, T. Jennewein, R. B. Mann, D. R. Terno Is wave-particle objectivity compatible with determinism and locality? (2014) Nature Communications 5, 4997

E. R. Livine and D. R. Terno Entropy in the classical and quantum polymer black hole models (2012) Classical and Quantum Gravity 29, 224012

A. Brodutch, T. F. Demarie, D. R. Terno Photon polarization and geometric phase in general relativity (2011) Physical Review D 84, 104043

A. Brodutch and D. R. Terno, Entanglement, discord and the power of quantum computing (2011) Physical Review A 83, 010301(R)

Twamley group

Hybrid Quantum science

Twamley’s theory research focuses on investigating hybrid quantum systems where one considers connecting up a variety of different types of quantum sub-systems which, when taken together, can reveal new physics or perform new functions, beyond that of the individual sub-systems.

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An example of an hybrid system is a design that joins together photonic, superconducting and solid-state (diamond) sub-systems, to connect up via an optical fibre, distant superconducting quantum computers. Another example it to connect up electronic and vibrational sub-systems to design one-way directional quantum wires for electrons. The field of hybrid quantum engineering covers many sub-topics including, optomechanics, superconductors, solid-state quantum devices, optimal quantum control, quantum error correction, algorithms and simulation.


Dr Keyu Xia (Postdoc)
Dr Mattias Johnsson (Postdoc)
Clara Javaherian (PhD)


Daniel Lombardo (MSc)
Dr Mauro Cirio (PhD)
Dr Michael Delanty (PhD)
Dr Johann Schoenfeldt (PhD)

Dr Ressa Said (PhD)
Dr Gerardo Paz-Silva (PhD)


M. Feng, Y.P. Zhong, T. Liu, L.L. Yan, W.L. Yang, J. Twamley & H. Wang, Exploring the quantum critical behaviour in a driven Tavis–Cummings circuit (2015) Nature Communications 6, 7111

K. Xia, M.R. Vanner, J. Twamley, An opto-magneto-mechanical quantum interface between distant superconducting qubits (2014) Scientific Reports 4, 5571

M. Cirio, G.K. Brennen and J. Twamley, Quantum Magnetomechanics: Ultrahigh-Q- Levitated Mechanical Oscillators (2012) Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 147206

G. Waldherr, J. Beck, P. Neumann, R.S. Said, M. Nitsche, M.L. Markham, D.J. Twitchen, J. Twamley, F. Jelezko, J. Wrachtrup, High-dynamic-range magnetometry with a single nuclear spin in diamond, (2012) Nature Nanotechnology 7, 105-108

P. Neumann, R. Kolesov, B. Naydenov, J. Beck, F. Rempp, M. Steiner, V. Jacques, G. Balasubramanian, M. L. Markham, D. J. Twitchen, S. Pezzagna, J. Meijer, J. Twamley, F. Jelezko, and J. Wrachtrup, Quantum register based on coupled electron spins in a room- temperature solid (2010) Nat. Phys. 6 (4), 249-253

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