University of Waterloo
Unravelling the secrets of individual photons could open the door for unprecedented advances in medical imaging, quantum computing and communications.
In Waterloo, Ontario, home to one of the largest concentrations of quantum information scientists in the world, scientists are attempting to harness the power of individual photons (light particles) to transform the way we process and share information and the way we measure the world around us.
Jean-Philippe MacLean, winner of a master’s level NSERC 2013 André Hamer Postgraduate Prize, is working on this challenge at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing. MacLean is using carefully stretched pulses of light called chirped laser pulses to study entanglement, a quantum phenomenon that Einstein famously referred to as “spooky action at a distance”. It has proven instrumental in advancing communication protocols, cryptography and quantum computing, as well as in increasing the precision of 3-dimensional medical imaging.
MacLean has worked with some of the world’s top physicists at both the Advanced Laser Light Source in Varennes, Quebec, and the Centre for Quantum Dynamics at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He now has his sights on a Ph.D. and an eventual career in academia or industry.