Welcome! This is the home page for the theory division at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL). We are exploring all aspects of the coupling between light and matter.
Upcoming Workshop “Machine Learning for Quantum Technology” (May 8-10, 2019)
This workshop brings together the international community trying to apply advanced methods of machine learning to quantum devices. The workshop takes place May 8-10 at the MPL in Erlangen, Germany. Read more about the workshop.
Published: Our paper on machine learning applied to quantum error correction [September 2018]
Our paper on neural networks discovering quantum error correction strategies has just been published. It has appeared in Physical Review X. There was a press release by the Max Planck Society: “Artificial Intelligence controls Quantum Computers“.
Workshop: Current trends in open and nonequilibrium quantum optical systems [July 2018]
From July 16th to 18th we hosted a workshop on the broad topic of open and nonequilibrium quantum optical systems. We invited some of the leading scientists in the field, who contributed to a diverse event covering from the most abstract to the most applied aspects. Thank you to all whose contributions made it a varied and dynamical workshop!
Find all the details in the official page.
Jobs available: Machine Learning for Physics [March 2018]
We are offering postdoc and PhD positions to enlarge our new team that develops cutting-edge neural-network-based techniques for scientific discovery. Please see the job description!
Discovering Quantum Error Correction from scratch! [February 2018]
We have applied for the first time neural-network-based reinforcement learning to quantum physics. Specifically, we have shown how that advanced technique from computer science can help to automatically discover complex quantum feedback strategies from scratch. In our specific example, we applied it to the domain of quantum error correction: how to preserve the quantum information stored in a small ensemble of qubit against noise, by applying suitable gate sequences and measurements. Read more about that in our preprint arxiv.org/abs/1802.05267.
New Max Planck Research Group [January 2018]
As of January 2018, Silvia Viola Kusminskiy has taken up her position as the head of a new Max Planck Research Group (MPRG). Her group “Theory of hybrid systems for quantum technologies” will explore the interaction between light and condensed matter systems at the micro/nanoscale. Her current interest lies in optomagnonics, where light couples coherently to magnetic excitations in solid state systems.
Machine Learning for Physicists [January 2018]
We just set up a new domain to collect all the videos and lecture slides for the course on machine learning that we taught in the summer term 2017. This was specifically about neural networks and reinforcement learning, and the goal was to be “hands-on”. See:
Christmas Lecture [December 2017]
On 14th December 2017, we presented you the annual Christmas lecture at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. Thank you to the large audience for attending!
Chiral Photonics 2017 – Workshop [September 2017]
Chiral Photonics is an emergent topic in physics. We have brought together renowned experts from all over the world here at MPL, to discuss the present and the future of this new and exciting subject.
The workshop was animated by interesting and lively discussions among the participants. See the workshop website.
Light and Motion in a Helium Drop [August 2017]
What happens when you combine the physics of superfluid helium with optomechanics, in a levitated drop that has optical whispering gallery modes of outstanding quality? In our most recent work, we are analyzing all the basic aspects of such a system, to lay the groundwork for an upcoming experiment. A particular feature in this new optomechanics platform is the coupling between rotations, vibrations, and the light field. Read more in our recent manuscript or look at the slides of a talk given at the SPIE in San Diego.
OMT Summer School [July 2017]
We were pleased to welcome a group of keen young physicists to our OMT Summer School “Quantum Measurements and Theoretical Cavity Optomechanics” from 5th till 7th July here at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. Please refer to our website for more information.
Cavity Optomagnonics Workshop [June 2017]
The first workshop worldwide on this new topic, coupling light to magnons, was a great success. We welcomed many important experts in the field to the new building of the MPL, and exchanged scientific viewpoints across different fields (like quantum optics, magnonics, spintronics, etc.). See the workshop website.
Snowflakes go chiral! [April 2017]
We have discovered a novel way to make sound waves go one way (and one way only). See our new paper on a topological insulator for sound waves at the nanoscale. You can also look at a brief summary of this (and other related papers of ours), in the slides from a talk at San Sebastian (July 2017).
Move into the new building! [Sept 2016]
We moved into the new MPL building end of September 2016.
We are currently looking for both PhD students as well as postdoctoral researchers. Join our team at the MPL theory division and explore the world of photons and matter!
[March 2018] See also our special job ad for Machine Learning for Physics (Postdoc positions available)!
If you are curious about new quantum technologies, come and join us in our explorations at the intersection of nanophysics and quantum optics.
Our main focus is currently in optomechanics. This new field studies the interaction of light and nanomechanical motion, down into the quantum regime. This opens the door towards quantum optomechanical circuits, many-body physics, potential applications in ultrasensitive measurements, quantum information, and fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. Further research topics include quantum electrodynamics and quantum computing in superconducting circuits, topological photonics and phononics, decoherence, and quantum transport.
Our work has both analytical and numerical components, and in most of the topics we have collaborations with experimentalists. Thus, computer skills and the desire to apply theory to realworld problems are strong advantages. We put particular emphasis on physical understanding.
We have ongoing collaborations with both experimental and theoretical groups all over the world, including at Yale, Caltech, McGill and other institutions. The payment and benefits are based on the German TVöD guidelines.
The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application comprises the following:
PhD applicants: a CV and the names of two expert references.
PostDoc applications: a CV, a list of publications, and the names of two expert references.
We will start reviewing applications immediately but will continue to accept applications indefinitely.
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light