Morgan W. Mitchell

Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO)

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

Born in 1968 in Palo Alto, California, USA, Morgan Mitchell earned his PhD in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999 with a thesis on the quantum optics of photon-photon interactions. In the group of Serge Haroche and Jean-Michel Raimond in Paris he worked on experimental cavity quantum electrodynamics with cold atoms. At Reed College he developed ultra-low power entangled photon sources, and in the group of Aephraim Steingberg in Toronto he demonstrated the first multi-photon NooN states and quantum process tomography. In 2004 he joined ICFO as a Junior Group Leader. His group "quantum optics with cold atoms and non-classical light" uses narrow-band quantum light sources and cold atomic ensembles to study interaction of light and matter at the most fundamental, quantum mechanical level. He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2011, recognized with a Vanguardia de la Ciencia award in 2012, Ehrenfest Prize and Kavli Publication Prize in 2016.

Research interests

I work on experimental quantum optics, quantum information and especially quantum metrology. Quantum metrology uses quantum effects to improve the sensitivity of demanding measurements. To study the interaction of light and matter at the quantum level, I use cold atoms and high coherence, atom-tuned quantum light sources. For this, my group has developed ultra-bright sources of entangled photon pairs, atom-tuned polarization squeezing and a quantum-noise-limited atomic ensemble system. We have demonstrated quantum non-demolition measurements using dynamical decoupling to reduce decoherence, and interaction-based measurements beyond the so-called “Heisenberg limit.” The quantum optics of optical magnetometers, currently the best sensors for low-frequency magnetic fields, is of particular interest. Recently I demonstrated the first application of quantum optics to improve magnetometer sensitivity, and a high-spatial-resolution magnetometer based on cold atoms.  Spin-offs from this research include extremely fast, high-quality ranodm number generators, used in loophole-free Bell tests.

Selected publications

– Kofler J, Giustina M, Larsson J-A & Mitchell MW 2016, ‘Requirements for a loophole-free photonic Bell test using imperfect setting generators’, Physical Review A, 93, 3, 032115.

– Lucivero VG, Jimenez-Martinez R, Kong J & Mitchell MW 2016, ‘Squeezed-light spin noise spectroscopy’, Physical Review A, 93, 5, 053802.

– Ciurana FM, Colangelo G, Sewell RJ & Mitchell MW 2016, ‘Real-time shot-noise-limited differential photodetection for atomic quantum control’, Optics Letters, 41, 13, 2946 – 2949.

– Abellan C, Amaya W, Domenech D, Munoz P, Capmany J, Longhi S, Mitchell MWPruneri V 2016, ‘Quantum entropy source on an InP photonic integrated circuit for random number generation’, Optica, 3, 9, 989 – 994.

Selected research activities

Principal investigator for “The BIG Bell Test,” an international project to perform quantum physics experiments employing human-generated randomness.  On 30 November 2016, the project collected 90 million random bits from more than 100,000 online participants, and distributed the bits to 13 cutting-edge physics experiments.