Shen to study quantum light sources with NSF grant

While today's technology might be fast, engineers at Washington University in St. Louis are working on the basics of new technology with capabilities beyond what can be done today.

JT Shen is studying the functions of high-throughput quantum light sources, which could improve modern technologies and communications.

J.T. Shen, the Das Family Distinguished Career Development Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, has received a three-year, $269,003 grant from the National Science Foundation to provide a clear roadmap to researchers to explore the functions of high-throughput quantum light sources, which may ultimately improve communication and biomedical imaging technologies.

Shen, in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, plans to study the fundamental capability of the cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) systems to produce quantum photonic states as well as the functions of a complex cavity QED system formed by an array of the cavity QED components. He and his team plan to research a new formulation based on quantum control and optimal control and develop efficient computational tools for numerical modeling of the systems.

"The capabilities for controlling quantum state of light are of paramount importance for modern society," Shen says. "The success of this project will represent important breakthroughs in quantum optical information processing, a field that has already broadly impacted modern technology and human life."

With the funding, Shen will provide research opportunities for graduate students in cavity QED, quantum optics, nanophotonics and numerical techniques. One graduate student also will spend 10 hours a week teaching science, engineering and math at local K-12 schools. Shen also will organize a workshop on optical science for local high school teachers and students.


The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 88 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, more than 900 graduate students and more than 23,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.