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Jonathan Simon

Jonathan Simon
Associate Professor of Physics and Applied Physics
Research Areas:
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics
Quantum Sensing, Simulation & Computation
Description of Interests

We are currently focused on exploring the implications of the laws of quantum mechanics using strongly interacting photons: the group employs the tools of cavity quantum electrodynamics to couple photons and laser-cooled atoms together, and then harnesses the nonlinearity of the atom(s) to induce interactions (and thus entanglement) between the photons. We tend to be vertically integrated- develop exotic new tools for manipulating light or cold atoms, and then harness them to investigate new physics!

We primarily employ our cQED platforms to explore quantum few-to-many body states of light, but we are also interested in applications in quantum information processing and quantum repeaters. We are tightly integrated with the Schusterlab (, and many of our projects are collaborations with them.

The group style is to split into several large teams focused on long-term efforts, and then also provide each student with independent moon-shot projects to develop independence and creativity, and to keep the group's science spicy :)

Team efforts include:

  • Exploring quantum matter made of strongly interacting photons, where the properties of the photons are controlled by the geometry of a multimode resonator, and Rydberg dressed atoms mediate the interactions between the photons.
  • Interfacing optical and mmwave photons using crossed optical and (superconducting) mmwave resonators, with atoms residing at the intersection as transducers. This experiment aims to explore both quantum-limited transduction, and mmwave cavity-QED induced spin-squeezing for high precision metrology.
  • A Bose Hubbard circuit for exploring few-body physics of microwave photons; in this "quantum gas circuit microscope," we have explored dissipative stabilization of Mott insulators of light, as well as new ways to harness disorder to prepare strongly correlated fluids of light.
  • A Chern circuit coupled to a single transmon qubit for exploring topological cavity QED.

Projects that started as individual efforts include:

  • A wormhole for light realized by coupling multimode resonators
  • A magnetic field for light realized by twisting a resonator out of the plane
  • An optical mode converter created with coupled cavities
  • An FPGA-based loop-shaper for feedback control of mechanical systems with many resonances.

Jon graduated from Montgomery Blair HS in 2000; Caltech in 2004, and MIT/Harvard in 2010; he was faculty at the University of Chicago from 2012-2022 in Physics, the James Franck Institute, and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, and since then has been faculty at Stanford in Physics and Applied Physics.

Jon loves to fly drones, kitesurf, ride his electric skateboard, and grapple. He is a cat afficionado and a very amateur chess player. If you want to make a cool robot, he's probably game; if it's a space robot, even better, but then the Schusterlab will also probably want in.

Selected Publications