Laboratory for Atomic and Photonic Technologies
Northwestern University

About us

The Laboratory for Atomic and Photonic Technology (LAPT) is a research group at Northwestern University. We are a part of the Center for Photonic Communication and Computing in the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science department.

Our work includes projects ranging from quantum gyroscopes to holographic correlation. You can find more information below and in the current research page.

Latest Research

Superluminal and Subluminal lasers are produced by producing fast light condition or slow light condition inside the laser cavity. Such devices can be utilized for variety of precision metrological applications. By tailoring the dispersion inside the cavity, active or passive, the characteristics of such gyroscopes can be improved significantly.

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We have combined optical-domain Fourier Transforms with electronic-domain hardware (FPGAs) to perform ultra-fast shift, rotation, and scale invariant correlations. This system also incorporates a PQ:PMMA holographic database. We are working on reaching the maximum operational speed of 5μs per operation. This will allow the HOC to function as an input filter for more advanced image recognition systems.

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PQ:PMMA is a versatile holographic polymer which we manufacture for use in a variety of applications. We are especially interested in its use for wavelength division multiplexing, AKA beam combining. With this technology we are working on building a free space optical communication system at ~1550nm as well as a monocular passive ranging system that functions through O2 spectroscopy at ~760nm

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We are currently working on developing a photonic integrated circuit on an AlGaAs substrate for operation near 780nm. This chip will incorporate lasers, detectors, waveguides, isolators, modulators, and other components. The goal is to miniaturize most of the optics in our fast-light atomic gyroscope, which will help to bring it one step closer to practical implementation.

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Photonic Integrated Circuit

Integrated Photonics

Our new project aims to perform statistical squeezing on the angular momenta of a Rb-atom cloud, whereby a non-classical noise reduction leads to state-of-the-art measurement sensitivity in two critical applications—the atomic clock and the atomic sensor. Currently, we are building a squeezing-enhanced Raman atomic clock. Down the road, we will construct a squeezing-enhanced atomic magnetometer.

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We are building a quantum gyroscope that senses the rotation of the base of the gyroscope with atom interferometry. The type of interferomemter we use is the point source atom intereferometer (PSI). To enhance its sensitivity, we incorporate the technique of large momentum transfer.

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Quantum Gyroscope

Quantum Optics


Professor Selim Shahriar and the LAPT group contribute to the discovery of gravitational waves!
11 - February - 2016

On February 11, 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration have announced their successful detection of gravitational waves. This detection has confirmed the existence of the gravitational wave predicted by General Relativity, a theory about gravity proposed by Einstein in 1915. The Laboratory of Atomic and Photonic Technology(LAPT) is proud to be part of this significant scientific breakthrough.

Professor Selim Shahriar, The director of LAPT, along with his graduate students Minchuan Zhou, Zifan Zhou and Joshua Yablon are co-authors of the paper published in Physical Review Letters to report the existence and successful detection of gravitational wave. Professor Shahriar has been working on improving the sensitivity and bandwidth of gravitational wave detection using fast light in collaboration with LIGO for nearly 10 years. His recent paper on this work shows how to improve the sensitivity of the device by a factor of ~20. Such an enhancement would increase by a factor of nearly 8000 the volume of space from which gravitational wave would be detectable, thereby increasing significantly the number of events that could be detected in a given period.

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Best PhD Thesis Award
29 - June - 2021

Zifan Zhou was awarded the Best PhD Thesis award for the ECE department.

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SPIE Education Scholarship
19 - May - 2021

Julian Gamboa has been awarded an SPIE education scholarship for his continuous outreach activities in optics and photonics.

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Northwestern University

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Northwestern University is located in Evanston, IL, USA.

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