Dr Ruth Oulton
Dr Ruth Oulton is a lecturer with a joint appointment between the School of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She works on the study of single electrons as a “memory” component that will store and manipulate states of single photons, investigating the physical processes that will allow such a memory to be included in a quantum chip.
Dr Oulton started working on semiconductor physics during her PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2000, where she performed some of the first measurements on quantum dots – semiconductor “artificial atoms” which show atomic-like interactions with light. At the time, the idea of using quantum dots in quantum information processing was a theoretical prediction only, and a distant goal for an experimentalist.
Having spent a year in Marburg during her undergraduate Erasmus year, she was keen to return to Germany and subsequently took up an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship at the Technical University of Dortmund.
Dr Oulton then returned to Sheffield and was awarded an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship to combine photonic structures with quantum dots to exploit the long storage times observed for semiconductor spins.
In 2008 Dr Oulton came to the University of Bristol to set up a laboratory in the newly-built Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (NSQI), looking at how to artificially mimic the nanophotonic structures seen in biology.
“I’m in a lucky position in that I’ve seen my field rapidly grow apace, from being a speculative science where the final goal seemed too far away to contemplate, to being a feasible possibility. I think that the next few years will be an exciting time for people like me working in quantum information.”