Coherently prepared media (CPM) is one of emerging fields of interdisciplinary studies at the boundary between fundamental physics (atomic/molecular physics, magnetic resonance, quantum optics), laser physics, photonics and modern material science. These new media possess extraordinary physical properties that can be efficiently controlled and modified. CPM are systems composed of atoms or other quantum objects (molecules, ions, quantum dots, colour centers, etc.) where quantum coherences, i.e., superpositions of energy levels, have been established and are controlled by electromagnetic (EM) fields. In this way physical characteristics of CPM on the macroscopic scale become determined by the quantum-state coherence and can be tailored with the help of EM fields. The unique properties of CPM allow observation of unusual phenomena. For example, light can be forced to propagate in CPM with velocities drastically different than in usual systems, in particular, light pulses can be stopped in CPM and retrieved on demand. The quantum control of light and matter attainable in CPM promises many important applications such as quantum memories for optical and/or quantum computers, quantum information processors, and ultra-sensitive sensors of external EM fields for medicine, quantum technology, security, etc.

The decisive factor allowing extension of the quantum mechanical effects to macroscale and hence creation of CPM is the ability to maintain the quantum superposition over a long time. This requires overcoming fast decoherence processes which can be accomplished in several ways. One way is to bring the sample to ultra-low temperature. Another way, applicable for gas media, makes use of special vapor cells, where collisional decoherence is eliminated by a special coating of the internal walls of the cell or introduction of a buffer gas. The team at Department of Photonics of Jagiellonian University led by prof. W. Gawlik has expertly mastered and possess appropriate know-how and state-of-the-art equipment for both approaches.

Apart from its importance to fundamental science, CPM offer exciting and important applications. CPM can be used for optical delay lines, ultra-precise sensors, ultra-sensitive magnetometers, and highly precise frequency standards. The objective of the project is further investigation of the CPM properties, improving the coherence lifetimes and amplitudes, extension of the range of materials and techniques suitable for CPM and development of its specific applications.

Group activity on CPM

For several years, the Jagiellonian University team guided by prof. W. Gawlik has been studying various aspects of quantum coherences in different atomic systems allowing preparation of CPM. The research is conducted following two complementary techniques using: (a) ultra-cold atomic gases, (b) low-density atomic vapors in special cells at room temperature... more

Planned research

This challenging project could be very rewarding both for the frontier of fundamental science and modern hi-tech applications. To reach its objectives it is necessary to recruit a group of devoted young researchers willing to pursue ambitious and prospective undertakings. Below, we briefly characterize the topics which will be addressed within the project and the main assignments which will be given to individual team members.

  1. Properties of Coherently Prepared Media
    • Ultra-cold media
    • Team members responsible for realization of the task: MSc. Marcin Piotrowski (PhD student), MSc. Marcin Bober (PhD student)
      Open position: PhD student

      In magneto-optical and optical traps, in which gases could be cooled well below 1 mK, atomic motion is significantly slowed down. It practically eliminates atomic collisions, substantially reduces decoherence and allows creation of robust CPM... more

    • Quantum-state engineering
    • Open position: MSc student

      One principal objective of quantum technologies and quantum-state engineering is the development of methods for efficient creation of specific quantum states of a given physical system and for their controlled modification... more

  2. Applications of coherently prepared media

    Team members responsible for realization of the task: Dr. Szymon Pustelny (postdoc)
    Open position: PhD student, MSc student

    Many important applications of CPM both for fundamental and applied problems depend on the ability to measure minute magnetic fields and their variations... more

  3. New materials for coherently prepared media

    Open position: PhD student, MSc student

    Over the years many groups have shown a significant increase in interest in new materials for CPM. The most promising media studied so far have been quantum dots, various ions in crystal matrices, atom-filled hollow optical fibers, and diamond crystals with nitrogen-vacancy (NV) colour centers... more