Centre researcher Dr Jacqui Romero has won a prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award to work on quantum alphabets.  

More than 80 years ago, Erwin Schrödinger coined the term entanglement to describe strange correlations between quantum particles.

In her PhD, Jacqui established an easier way of measuring entanglement between the shapes of individual photons, or particles of light.

The $25,000 L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship will support her research, which aims to create a unique quantum encoding system that uses the shapes of light as letters in a quantum alphabet.

Jacqui said, “Normally, if you don’t know the letters of a word, you don’t know the word. In quantum mechanics, you know every letter, but still have no idea what word they make up.”

“This is hard to believe, so I plan to demonstrate it using the beam shapes of photons.”

There is still much to discover in terms of how information works in the quantum world with research in quantum physics expected to influence a range of areas, including sensing, communications, imaging, and computation.

Jacqui’s work will contribute critical knowledge to the field as researchers start to access more of the benefits of the quantum world.

Jacqui is one of five researchers from Australia and New Zealand named as a 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellow. 

The program showcases outstanding women in science.

Jacqui has maintained a productive research career in parallel with raising a family with three young children.

She said, “I do not feel less of a physicist because I am also a mother, nor less of a mother because I am also a physicist. The two are not mutually exclusive!”

The L’Oréal-UNESCO program also helps motivate girls in high school to pursue scientific careers, through the Girls In Science program, and mentorship scheme.

Contact: Dr Jacqui Romero, m.romero@uq.edu.au; Tara Roberson, t.roberson@uq.edu.au, +61 404 516 635

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