I am currently a GenT Distinguished Researcher (tenure track Associate Professor equivalent) at the Optics Department of the University of Valencia (Spain), where I lead my group on Open & Nonequilibrium Quantum Optical Systems in full synergy with the Quantum and Nonlinear Optics group led by Profs. Germán J. de Valcárcel and Eugenio Roldán. If you are interested on visiting or applying to us, you might want to check out this (geographically outdated) video introducing the group to potential applicants:
You can find below a brief description of my background and interests. If you are interested in my research, publications, or teaching, you can jump directly to them:
You can also check directly my detailed CV if you prefer: (updated: January, 2024)
Brief bio: background and interests
Physics has been my main activity since 2001. Having great science teachers in high school, I fell in love with Math during my first year. But as much as I adored its intuitive definitions and logical proofs, my world was rocked when I started my first Physics course one year later: a discipline that uses all the fun and rigor of Math, but describes the wild real world we live in!
I was 15 at the time, and I remember clearly telling my parents that Physics would be the thing I'd do for the rest of my life (only threatened by my raising serious interest in Music). And so far, it looks like I wasn't wrong.
I went on to study Physics at the University of Valencia, where I focused on Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics during my bachelor's and master's degrees, and Quantum Optics during my PhD (supervised by Germán J. de Valcárcel and Eugenio Roldán).
I managed to secure a nice national fellowship for my PhD that allowed me to travel quite a bit, so I developed part of my work in Munich (with J. Ignacio Cirac, Diego Porras, and Inés de Vega at the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics), Melbourne (with Peter D. Drummond at Swinburne University of Technology), and Boston (with Nicolas Cerf, Raúl García-Patrón, and Jeffrey H. Shapiro at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Since completing my PhD in late 2011, I have focused on research. First with J. Ignacio Cirac until early 2016, then at the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen as a group leader within Florian Marquardt's division, and between 2019 and 2023 as an Associate Professor (tenure track) at the Wilczek Quantum Center in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In January 2024 I joined the University of Valencia.
With Ignacio Cirac's group, 2014
The academic life is very thrilling, never knowing exactly where it will lead you, but always allowing you to keep learning, growing, and meeting extraordinary inspiring people.
In my first years at the university I was pretty sure that I would become an astrophysicist working in general relativity, and I worked hard taking any opportunity to learn as much about it as I possibly could. However, it all changed when I was introduced to quantum physics: what a haunting, beautiful, and weird theory of the world... and still, it's the one that describes everything we experience in the most accurate way possible!
Although I kept taking all the available courses in astrophysics, from that moment on I focused on learning as much quantum mechanics as I could, in an effort to understand it better and better. Little I know then that it contains many funny subtle bits whose interpretation not even experts agree on today.
With Nicolas Cerf at MIT, 2010
While I got first interested in high-energy and particle physics (like basically all theoretical physics students), I was lucky to come across quantum optics: I realized that it contains all the quantum field theory that made me fall in love with particle physics, but still in a form that makes it close to the basic quantum mechanics that I ought to understand deeply, while at the same time being close to table-size experiments I could contribute to. Just the perfect subject for me!
Up to date, I keep working in this broad field that is quantum optics. I choose my research topics based on one basic premise: they must have the potential to make me learn something new about quantum mechanics, so that I manage to understand it deeper. Moreover, I am a very social researcher, always sharing my new ideas with people that I know can make a positive contribution and teach me many valuable things. I have collaborated closely with more than 40 researchers, from who I've learned a great deal (and who I hope have also taken away something from me).
Even though so far I have focused on research during my career, I also love teaching. I am also a very passionate supervisor and mentor, one who thrives on collaborations with young motivated minds. I don't conceive a future in the academic world without teaching and mentoring.
My group at the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light in 2018.
From right to left: Naeimeh Mohseni (postdoc), Emmanouil Grigoriou (PhD student), Benjamin Löckler (bachelor student), and Akash nag Oruganti (master student).