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UOttawa team sheds light on quantum physics

At a glance
The intern

Abdulkarim Hariri, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia

Hosted by

Jeff Lundeen, Department of Physics, University of Ottawa

The research

Manipulating light to carry information

It’s like something out of science fiction: machines so powerful and intelligent that they can solve even the most complex questions of our time. It’s called quantum computing, and right now, Canadian research and industry are at the bleeding edge of it.

And for undergraduate Saudi Arabian student Abdulkarim Hariri, a Mitacs Globalink Research Internship this summer at the University of Ottawa meant the chance of a lifetime to contribute to an important part of quantum computing research.  

Supervised by Assistant Professor Jeff Lundeen at the Department of Physics, Abdulkarim is part of a team that is testing methods to manipulate particles of light (photons) to carry information. This field of research, called quantum photonics, takes advantage of light’s ability to behave as both a wave and a particle — and encodes large amounts of information onto a single photon. Existing computers are only able to encode a single piece of information in each communication, limiting how much information can be stored and processed. Quantum photonics applications have the potential to speed up communication and computer processing far beyond what even the most advanced computers can do today.

Abdulkarim's research project involves an iterative process of developing, testing, and then refining a theory that would allow researchers to measure a photon’s position and momentum simultaneously —something that is not possible with current experimental methods.

“In research, you can work as an experimentalist or a theorist. But then there are other disciplines, including quantum photonics, where you don’t have to choose between the two since you are doing both,” says Kareem. “On top of that, the field is multidisciplinary, where people from all different backgrounds work together, making the possibilities of this kind of collaboration endless.

“And this summer has given me an incredible chance to witness that. I’m surrounded by some of the best students and researchers here at the University of Ottawa. It’s been an amazing opportunity, and I’m so grateful that I came to Canada for it.”

 


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with the following international partners to support Globalink: Universities Australia; the China Scholarship Council; Campus France; the German Academic Exchange Service; Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico; Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education; and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.