The Matter, Light and Quantum Theories research theme includes research groups that seek to understand fundamental details of the interactions of light with matter and to develop mixed classical-quantum and fully quantum mechanical treatments of light. For example, Prof. David Andrews leads the quantum electrodynamics research group at UEA and has made major contributions to the development of the theory of molecular interactions, and light-molecule interactions. His theoretical work in physics has been internationally recognised for many years, developing pioneering ideas about the fundamental properties of photons and investigating a unified theory of energy transfer.
Dr Garth Jones works on developing theoretical and computational models related to nonlinear optics and non-Markovian quantum dynamics. He uses both semi-classical and full quantum electrodynamical models to investigate resonance energy transfer, quantum decoherence, damping and memory effects associated with open quantum systems. He collaborates with experimental ultrafast spectroscopy groups, e.g. Prof. Steve Meech, to help them analyse their data through numerical simulations.
Dr Magnus Borgh’s research is centred around Bose-Einstein condensates, which is an area of vigorous international activity. In this “ultra-cold” state of matter, all particles occupy the same quantum-mechanical state, leading to unique phenomena such as superfluidity and topological defects such as monopoles and quantized vortices. The mathematical description of such defects is analogous to phenomena appearing in several otherwise different areas of physics – for example in theories of the very early universe – prompting possibilities for using the experimentally very accessible Bose-Einstein condensates as "quantum emulators" of objects and phenomena that may otherwise be difficult to study.
This research theme also includes researchers based in the School of Mathematics, who have a strong focus on fluid mechanics and nonlinear physics, inviting collaborations with Environmental Scientists who are experts in the physics of waves. Dr Davide Proment recently contributed to the discovery of a partial solution to the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam problem using physics equations drawn from wave turbulence theory, and Dr Hayder Salman has a research focus on nonlinear waves, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, and turbulence with applications to Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluids.