Light, the universe and everything – 12 Herculean tasks for quantum cowboys and black diamond skiers Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) has been a seminal force in quantum optics and related areas since 1971. It is rather mind-boggling to recognize how the concepts presented at these conferences have transformed scientific understanding and human society. In January 2017, the participants of PQE were asked to consider the equally important prospects for the future, and to formulate a set of questions representing some of the greatest aspirations in this broad field. The result is this multi-authored paper, in which many of the world’s leading experts address the following fundamental questions: (1) What is the future of gravitational wave astronomy? (2) Are there new quantum phases of matter away from equilibrium that can be found and exploited–such as the time crystal? (3) Quantum theory in uncharted territory: What can we learn? (4) What are the ultimate limits for laser photon energies? (5) What are the ultimate limits to temporal, spatial and optical resolution? (6) What novel roles will atoms play in technology? (7) What applications lie ahead for nitrogen-vacancy centres in diamond? (8) What is the future of quantum coherence, squeezing and entanglement for enhanced super-resolution and sensing? (9) How can we solve (some of) humanity’s biggest problems through new quantum technologies? (10) What new understanding of materials and biological molecules will result from their dynamical characterization with free-electron lasers? (11) What new technologies and fundamental discoveries might quantum optics achieve by the end of this century? (12) What novel topological structures can be created and employed in quantum optics?.

altmetric score

  • 38.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Agarwal, G., Allen, R. E., Bezděková, I., Boyd, R. W., Chen, G., Hanson, R., ... Zheludev, N.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • April 2018