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Quantum Comic Strips (Quantum PhoComics): The New QET Labs Engagement Project

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QET Labs recently added new activities to their highly developed public engagement culture. Among them is Quantum In Conversation, part of the QET Lab’s award wining engagement initiative, Quantum in The Crowd (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2017/october/engagement-awards-2017.html). Quantum In Conversation now reaches out to the children and young people of all educational backgrounds to engage with quantum research in the visual/narrative forms through the ‘Quantum PhoComics’ project.

The project stemmed from the on-going collaboration between QET Labs and their Research Engagement Supervisor, artist and historian Dr Milica Prokic. In November Milica teamed up with QET PhD researchers, Henry Semenenko and Alex Moylett, to deliver a quantum inspired comic strips workshops to young Bristolians.

The first workshop in the series, hosted by the Knowle West Media Centre, included presentations and demos by the researchers, followed by an art session where the initial sketches and storylin…

Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

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The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition is one of the largest events in the outreach calendar and is attended by thousands. Scientists from all over the UK are invited to display their cutting-edge research during the week-long event. After a competitive application process, the Centre for Quantum Photonics was invited to explain the weird and wonderful world of quantum computing, as one of only 22 exhibits.

Our exhibit took the public on journey to discover how we control light, why we want to use it to create more powerful computers and how the strange world of quantum mechanics will get us there. The first part of the display illustrated how our technology relies on the same physical processes as superfast broadband, confining light using total internal reflection.

We then demonstrated how quantum mechanics can explore problems in unfamiliar ways. By using a Galton box, we showed how quantum particles will take different routes to those we'd normally expect. By using these …

QET Labs at Cheltenham Science Festival 2017

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Cheltenham Science Festival is one of the UKs largest public engagement science exhibitions, which has had attendance of 45,000 visitors at previous events. This year’s festival saw researchers from QETLabs showcasing a variety of demonstrations.



QET Labs students and researchers Henry Semenenko and Alasdair Price organised demonstrations ranging from explaining the fundamental properties of light such as polarisation, and how we use it in sunglasses and 3D cinema glasses, to addressing current affairs of hacking encrypted messages and securing communications against malicious adversaries.



The exhibit was well received, engaged with a large number of people and was popular with schools, children and adults from all types of non-technical backgrounds. Many were interested in how optics and quantum technologies work and how it will impact their lives in the near future.

Outreach events are fundamental to inspiring the next generation of scientists, and communicating to a general audien…

QET Labs at Bristol's Festival of Nature 2017

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Students from the Quantum Engineering CDT taught the public about light and colour at Bristol’s Festival of Nature this weekend.

The CDT’s 3rd cohort, led by Cohort 1 student Euan Allen (pictured above), attended the event on Saturday and Sunday to demonstrate the effects of microstructures on colour in nature using butterfly wings, beetle shells, and several other naturally iridescent substances.

The event, which attracts thousands to Bristol harbourside annually, aims to educate the public about nature, conservation, and the environment.


Cohort 3 students (from left to right) João Diniz, Giorgos Eftaxias, Rachel Chadwick, George Atkinson, Jorge Ruz, and Ross Wakefield pose in front of their demonstration.

Festival of Nature demo

Day 3 of the Bristol Quantum Information Technologies (BQIT) workshop

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BQIT:17's third and final day saw the workshop draw to a close with another sunny day of talks on detectors, hybrid platforms and integrated photonics.

Kicking things off was Sae Woo Nam from NIST. Sae Woo explained two projects around the subject of superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs): one which showed a detection efficiency when used in practice of over 93%, and another on SNSPDs integrated into waveguides. He finished talking about some work with Dave Wineland integrating these detectors with ion traps. University of Münster's Wolfram Pernice followed this by speaking about developing SNSPDs which are capable of detecting single photons in plane, making them suitable for waveguides.

The first solid state & hybrid systems session began with Almut Beige from the University of Leeds, who explained how we can better understand how to couple optical cavities from working out the Hamiltonian of a beam splitter. She was followed by the University of Bris…

Day 2 of the Bristol Quantum Information Technologies (BQIT) workshop

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Day 2 of QET Labs' fourth annual Bristol Quantum Information Technologies (BQIT) saw another sunny day of talks related to quantum technologies.

The quantum information theory stream kicked off with the University of Bristol's Ashley Montanaro, detailing two recent algorithms to provide quadratic speedups for backtracking and Monte Carlo methods. This was followed by Ulm University's Martin Plenio, who talked about efficient ways of performing quantum state tomography, resulting in being able to experimentally demonstrate efficient state tomography for 20 trapped ions. Laura Mancinska, also of the University of Bristol, concluded this topic with a talk on how to verify that a state you are given is entangled.

A coffee break precluded Winfried Hensinger of the University of Sussex, who began the scaling up theme by explaining the background of ion trap quantum computing, before introducing his blueprint for constructing a large-scale quantum computer. This was followed by …

Day 1 of the Bristol Quantum Information Technologies (BQIT) workshop

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The first day of QET Labs' fourth annual Bristol Quantum Information Technologies (BQIT) Workshop kicked off with a whistle-stop tour of quantum technologies, ranging from the foundations of entanglement to the quantum industry.

For entanglement foundations, first to speak was University of Toronto's Aephraim Steinberg, highlighting two recent results: how quantum-enhanced sensing can beat "Rayleigh's curse" and strongly increase nonlinear optical effects. He was followed by Marek Żukowski from the University of Gdańsk, who explained how redefining Stokes parameters can lead to better entanglement observations.

The devices segment began with Josh Nunn from the University of Oxford unveiling a long awaited result: A noise free quantum memory! University of Pavia's Marco Liscidini followed this with his proposal for a ring resonator with 99.9% purity.

Our first information theorist of the workshop, Caltech's Elizabeth Crosson spoke about not only how quant…

Bristol Optical Student's Society (BOSS) and QETLabs researchers show off the power of optical fibres and photonic crystals to local school children at the new UnitDX facility, Bristol's new science incubator.

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This time, the very first members of the public visiting UnitDX's sparkling new laboratories were neither local officials nor scientists, but children from local schools coming to discover how science will be used to engineer their futures. Arriving two days before the official opening of the site, the children had the opportunity explore a number of different exhibits, from donning VR headsets to interactive play with molecules, to lab coats for chromatography. 

At the event, students from Bristol Optical Students Society (BOSS) and QETLabs presented demonstrations of the fundamental concepts underpinning the cutting-edge research of the University of Bristol quantum photonics group. Their first demo displayed the apparent "magic" of optical fibres, completely trapping light inside without the need of a single mirror. By creating optical fibres of water, the students saw how light can be bent around corners and how this is used in fibre broadband to create super fast int…

QETLabs outreach team invited to Royal Society for Science Museum training day

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In preparation for QETLabs' upcoming exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Showcase, CQP PhD students Ben Slater and Sam Morley-Short were invited to a professional outreach training session hosted by Royal Society and Science Museum engagement experts. The event was also attended by members from many other exhibits, ranging from climate scientists modelling our complex ecosystem to engineers showcasing "mixed reality" with the new Microsoft Hololens (https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-gb), with attendees encouraged to learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses.

The morning session focused on understanding your target audience: What scientific experiences, biases and assumptions might audience members already have before coming to your exhibit? What do they want out of the interaction and how can you give it to them? How can you design your exhibit to engage the audience in a way they enjoy, rather than how you might do so to other scientists? From th…

QET Labs welcomes the Future Brunels

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 “The Future Brunels programme aims to inspire and enthuse young people with science and engineering throughout their time at secondary school. By introducing young people to the impacts science and engineering have already on their own and other’s lives, and to the range of career options available to them through studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, the programme encourages the Future Brunels to consider careers in the broadest set of STEM fields.”
- Future Brunels Website
On Thursday 9th March, twelve Future Brunels students aged 13 and 14 visited the QET Labs team to investigate the wave nature of light, and how this can be used to measure minute distances such as the width of a single animal hair.
The group began with a talk from PhD student Sam Morley-Short, who described the long-standing 17th Century feud between scientists trying to determine whether light is made of waves or particles. After learning how the wave nature of light was finally det…