Dr Scott Parkins

MSc/DPhil (Waikato)

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Associate Professor

Research | Current

Research areas

  • Theoretical quantum optics
  • Cavity quantum electrodynamics (cavity QED)
  • Cavity optomechanics
  • Many-body cavity QED and quantum phase transitions

Current research

My field of research is theoretical quantum optics, with particular emphasis on cavity quantum electrodynamics (cavity QED) – the interaction of atoms with quantised light fields (e.g., single photons) inside optical resonators. My specific interests are in the controlled preparation of uniquely quantum-mechanical states of both the atoms and light fields. Such states are of interest from a fundamental point of view as well as being of basic importance in the very topical fields of quantum information processing (e.g., quantum computing) and quantum phase transitions.

Some examples of the research projects I am currently pursuing are as follows:

  • Cavity QED with cascaded (microtoroidal) optical resonators
    Here we examine the modification of fundamental radiative properties of atoms that interact with the light fields of the resonators, focussing on the influence that distant atoms can have on each other through their light-mediated interactions.
  • Cavity optomechanics with cascaded optical resonators
    Certain optical resonators, such as microtoroidal resonators, also exhibit mechanical modes of oscillation (i.e., vibrations), which can be influenced by the force, or pressure, that the light fields exert on them. In particular, the mechanical modes can be cooled by the light fields to extremely low temperatures, to the extent that they also exhibit uniquely quantum mechanical behaviour. We are exploring schemes for manipulating the quantum mechanical state of one or more mechanical modes and for preparing entangled quantum states of two or more modes, with a view to tests of fundamental quantum mechanics and to applications in quantum information processing in distributed quantum networks.
  • Many-body cavity QED
    We consider many-atom systems with long range interactions mediated by the light fields of optical resonators. Such many-body interacting quantum systems can exhibit a variety of different quantum states, or phases, as well as the concomitant critical phenomena associated with transitions between these phases. We explore schemes for manipulating interactions, via specific atomic level configurations and tailored laser excitations, in such a way as to generate novel quantum phases and phase transitions.

Areas of expertise

  • Theoretical Quantum Optics
  • Quantum Information and Quantum Computation
  • Quantum Chaos


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Masson, S. J., & Parkins, S. (2019). Extreme spin squeezing in the steady state of a generalized Dicke model. PHYSICAL REVIEW A, 99 (2)10.1103/PhysRevA.99.023822
  • Masson, S. J., & Parkins, S. (2019). Preparing the spin-singlet state of a spinor gas in an optical cavity. PHYSICAL REVIEW A, 99 (1)10.1103/PhysRevA.99.013819
  • Zhang, Z., Lee, C. H., Kumar, R., Arnold, K. J., Masson, S. J., Grimsmo, A. L., ... Barrett, M. D. (2018). Dicke-model simulation via cavity-assisted Raman transitions. Physical Review A, 97 (4).10.1103/PhysRevA.97.043858
  • Masson, S. J., Barrett, M. D., & Parkins, S. (2017). Cavity QED engineering of spin dynamics and squeezing in a spinor gas. Physical Review Letters, 119 (21)10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.213601
  • Ruddell, S. K., Webb, K. E., Herrera, I., Parkins, A. S., & Hoogerland, M. D. (2017). Collective strong coupling of cold atoms to an all-fiber ring cavity. Optica, 4 (5), 576-579. 10.1364/OPTICA.4.000576
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/36539
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maarten Hoogerland
  • Zhiqiang, Z., Lee, C. H., Kumar, R., Arnold, K. J., Masson, S. J., Parkins, A. S., & Barrett, M. D. (2017). Nonequilibrium phase transition in a spin-1 Dicke model. Optica, 4 (4), 424-429. 10.1364/OPTICA.4.000424
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34629
  • Parkins, S. (2016). Optical Quantum Logic at the Ultimate Limit. Physics, 9.10.1103/Physics.9.129
  • Nemet, N., & Parkins, S. (2016). Enhanced optical squeezing from a degenerate parametric amplifier via time-delayed coherent feedback. Physical Review A, 94 (2)10.1103/PhysRevA.94.023809
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nikolett Nemet


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 631
New Zealand

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