School of Life Sciences

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Prof Thomas Konrad

Associate Professor and Academic Leader: Physics - Westville

Prof Konrad studied Physics and Philosophy in Tübingen, London, Rome and Konstanz. He is the academic leader of the physics cluster in Durban and pioneers research in quantum monitoring as well as quantum information processing and communication with bright states of light. Prof Konrad promotes the interplay between science and arts. He has curated Art exhibitions on Reflections on Light and Science meets Arts, and he brings science into the public realm in newspaper articles and radio interviews. Prof Konrad is currently the Academic Leader of Physics Westville.

Research interests

  • Quantum Information Processing and
  • Communication Quantum
  • Measurement and Control
  • Quantum Foundations, Quantum Optics.

Research profiles

Research overview

QIPC seeks to implement information processing and communication based on the typical features of quantum systems such as superposition, interference, and entanglement. The superposition of properties (e.g. spin-up/spin-down) and interference lead to parallel processing and safe encryption of information. Entanglement, on the other hand, is related to an exponential growth of the storage capacity with the number of quantum systems involved. For example, the polarisation of 200 photons, could be used to process simultaneously as many numbers as there are atoms in the universe. But how to gain sufficient control in order to harness these powers is yet an unsolved problem. In order to engineer solutions we study quantum measurement and control as well as quantum foundations.

Current projects

Prof Konrad studies quantum algorithms and their implementation using quantum optical systems (involving the photon-number degree of freedom) but also classical optics (based on the spatio-temporal degrees of freedom of light) and combinations of both.

In this context, he investigates non-linear optical effects such as frequency up-conversion and spontaneous as well as stimulated down-conversion.
His research vision is to build small quantum processors using networks of non-linear media with bright coherent (classical) states of light as input. He also creates schemes for teleportation and error correction for quantum communication purposes. This research also addresses the foundational question whether there are effects in quantum non-linear optics that cannot be predicted by hidden-variable models.

Based on expertise in monitoring of quantum systems by unsharp measurements (described by Ito calculus), he studies quantum control by measurement-based feedback and coherent feedback. The latter allows to control quantum systems by means of other quantum systems. Currently, he is developing methods to prepare target states and target dynamics while protecting them against noise. One of his aims is to find coherent feedback techniques for autonomous control of quantum systems in a noisy environment.

Collaborators

  • Andreas Buchleitner (University of Freiburg, Germany)
  • Andrew Forbes (Wits, SA)
  • Hans Briegel (University of Innsbruck, Austria)
  • Lajos Diosi (Wigner Institute, Budapest, Hungary)
  • Sandeep Goyal (ISER Mohali, India)
  • Sibasish Ghosh (IMSC Chennai, India)
  • Stef Roux (NMISA, SA) 

Media

Optical implementation of Grover’s search Algorithm.