Steel group

Steel group

Michael Steel Research Group

Steel Group – Integrated Nonlinear Quantum Photonics

Research Interests

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.

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

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