The LUMS Physlab team, led by Dr. Mohammad Sabieh Anwar, Associate Professor at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering, has recently developed a single photon quantum mechanics laboratory. This lab is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
This initiative was taken in an effort to develop a laboratory that could incorporate modern, cost-effective versions of some of the experiments that have shaped the modern understanding of quantum physics. Students at Physlab were already working with Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs), Franck-Hertz tubes and lasers, but the team wanted ideas that could directly relate to quantum interference, entanglement, density matrices, nonlocality and reveal the different aspects of quantum physics.
Dr. Anwar worked with Hamza Waseem and Faizan-e-Elahi, two electrical engineering students from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, who wanted to experiment with single photons. The task was challenging as the students also had to complete rigorous coursework at their university. But after a year and a half of dedicated effort, the group of students managed to complete a suite of nine fundamental experiments.
The team has also produced a primer that describes their work in detail. The comprehensive document includes a theoretical portion as well as the steps entailed to reproduce the experiments done by the lab: from the simple task of aligning the optics and switching on the avalanche photodetectors to inferring the quantum states using maximum likelihood techniques.
Speaking about the lab, Dr. Anwar said, “For many years I had dreamed of making a laboratory for our students that could demonstrate fundamental facets of quantum physics, quantum information and quantum computing. This initiative was inspired by several colleagues, most of them in the United States who go to extreme lengths to making the teaching of quantum physics simple, intuitive, elegant and above all, a moment of joy.”
For more information about the new lab, click here.