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Brendon Lovett is Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews.

Prof Lovett is a theoretical physicist whose aim is to understand the quantum properties of nanomaterials. His work has applications ranging from quantum information processing to solar energy harvesting.

Quantum systems have unique properties that distinguish them from the world of everyday experience. These are now being revealed to us through the remarkable achievement of measuring individual quantum particles. This incredible progress has led to an explosion of ideas for new quantum-based technologies, such as computers, sensors and encryption systems. However, the very properties that make quantum systems so potentially useful also cause them to be very fragile: Quantum particles necessarily interact with the vast quantum system of the environment, over which we have no control. I develop theories that allow us to understand such 'open quantum systems', and how we can preserve and control their quantum properties. Predicting the dynamics of an open quantum system is very challenging: traditional methods require resources scaling exponentially with the system size, making accurate calculation difficult, or impossible. To solve this problem, I lead a team that develops techniques that can make very accurate predictions efficiently: our new algorithms, which are based on tensor networks, are orders-of-magnitude more powerful than their predecessors.

To enable the testing, refinement and exploitation of my ideas, I work with leading experimentalists. In this way, we can develop the fundamental knowledge that will drive the technology of the future.


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