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Meet the quantum summer students

A-Level student Kai Osborne working in the quantum laboratories

Summer student Usama Zulfiqar in the Quantum Systems and Devices lab

Summer student Poppy Joshi working with the blue laser

Summer student Micah Annor in the Quantum Systems and Devices lab

Summer student Luke McHugh in the Quantum Systems and Devices lab

Over the summer the Quantum Systems and Devices laboratory has been bustling with A-Level and undergraduate summer students working on a range of exciting projects. We say goodbye as they embark on their new term of studies.

Kai Osborne
Age 17
A-Level student at BHASVIC studying Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths

Kai has been working in the Quantum Systems and Devices lab as part of the Nuffield Research placement. In fact it was his chemistry teacher who encouraged him to apply but he steered the application towards a physics placement which he is hoping to study further after A-Levels. He has relished putting his knowledge from school into practical work in the labs and is undertaking a summer project working alongside an undergrad student and a PhD student to design a control system to read power change in a laser and ultimately control it. Kai was quick to be modest. “I love playing tennis but I always lose.” Impressively with his love of technology, he has built his own computer. He claimed “It’s a lot easier than you think. I think anyone could do it – it is just like a jigsaw really.”

Usama Zulfiqar
Going into 3rd year, Physics degree, Queen Mary University, London

Usama has worked with Gary Kendall from company CDO2, an industry collaboration with the Quantum Systems and Devices group working on quantum sensors for electrical vehicle batteries. Usama was on a paid placement specifically helping Gary with characterising the printed circuit boards that they are developing. He can’t say more as it is top secret due to a pending patent. He enjoyed helping out on a “bunch of different” projects and collaborating with various people in the group. He said he got to take part in the pink lab meetings. “It took me two weeks to realise why it is called the pink lab”…the walls are pink. Originally of Pakistani decent, Usama visited there for the first time last year. It was three full exciting weeks of eating, weddings and visiting family. When Usama isn’t studying he builds and flies his own drones. This is not for photography or videos but for the flying sensation alone. He wears goggles and says “It is like virtual reality but real.”

Poppy Joshi
Going into 2nd year MPhys, University of Sussex

Poppy found her way onto the Foundation year after not getting the grades she required and taking a few years out in Portugal. A great decision indeed as she is excelling after her first year of her physics degree.

In the lab she worked on a new set up using a blue laser for rubidium spectroscopy. Working with optics was all new for her and she enjoyed the practical applications of her first year of studies and being able to see results for what she was doing. “My favourite thing about the lab is that it is so multicultural.” She gained great experience and even presented a slide in the group meeting on the work she was doing.

Interesting facts about Poppy: she wants to be an astronaut, she is half Indian, she holds the world record in junior under 70kg deadlift powerlifting, lifting a staggering £171.5 kg, she plays hockey for the university team and last week she partook in a battle of the bands playing guitar and singing her own cheesy songs (her words) and came 2nd in the people’s choice.

Micah Annor
Going into 3rd year Physics at University of Sussex

Micah was keen to have a placement in quantum physics as he wants to take the abstract into applications that are used in everyday lives. In the labs he worked with electrical vehicle batteries with a PhD student and a Post Doc on a 3D scanner to measure the magnetic fields in a 3D space. He was daunted by the prospect at first but found the people in the lab so helpful and keen to explain things. “I have picked up so much and found it such a rewarding experience” and after his MPhys he is keen to go into research.

He used to write a blog analysing how realistic the physics is in various video games are and was once asked by a YouTube channel to explain the implications of Sonic the Hedgehog running at the speed of sound.

Luke McHugh
Going into 2nd Year MPhys at University of Sussex

Luke is another success story from the Foundation year which he took as he just missed the grades for Sussex. However he jumped at the chance when he was offered it as he really wanted to go to Sussex and says he does not regret the decision.

He worked on a summer project to design a device that can alter the polarisation of a laser beam. He thoroughly enjoyed his placement which led him to reconsider his planned path into astrophysics and focus more on quantum modules.

Luke is also a classically trained pianist although he never took any exams for it. He wanted the music to be purely about stress relief and pleasure rather than exams.

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By: Rebecca Bond
Further information: www.sussex.ac.uk/research/centres/quantum/
Last updated: Thursday, 26 September 2019

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