Dr. M. Morrissey

Post-Doc Fellow

Dr. Michael Morrissey
Quantum Research Group – School of Physics
University of KwaZulu Natal – Westville Campus
Private Bag X54001
Durban 4001, South Africa

Office:  +27 (0) 31 260 1578
Lab: +27 (0) 31 260 8206

email: morrissey@ukzn.ac.za

Research History

In 2004, Dr. Morrissey obtained his BSc degree in ‘applied physics and Instrumentation’ with first class honours, from Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland. While performing a 6-month undergraduate project in Siemens labs in Munich, Germany, he became interested in pursuing a career in experimental physics. Shortly after returning to Ireland, he joined the newly founded Quantum Research Group, which is currently based in Tyndall National Institute, Cork, Ireland. Under the supervision of Prof. Síle Nic Chormaic, he began his PhD in the field of laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms. Starting from an empty lab, he created Ireland’s first cold atom experiment in the form of a magneto-optical trap (MOT). In combining this experiment with the technology of tapered optical nanofibres (TOFN), he developed novel techniques to measure the characteristics of a MOT by monitoring the spontaneous emission from the trapped atoms coupled into the guided mode of the TONF. In doing so he succeeded in demonstrating the potential of the TONFs as an analysis tool in cold atom physics. In September 2009, with a thesis entitled ‘manipulation tools for laser-cooled rubidium atoms’, Dr. Morrissey successfully completed his PhD. This work continues in the development of quantum optics components using nanotechnology techniques.

Having spent all his life living in the cold and wet climate of Ireland, in 2009 Dr. Morrissey set his eyes on the subtropical island of Crete where he obtained a two-year postdoctoral research position at IESL-FORTH in the Cretan Matter Waves Group lead by Dr. Wolf von Klitzing. Here he created an ultra-cold atom experiment in the form of a Bose-Einstein Condensation (BEC), which can be used to study the quantum mechanical nature of atoms. In the process of creating this experiment, he also created a novel Ioffe-Pritchard trap design which offers extremely high trapping gradients as well as the unprecedented versatility of being able to quickly transform in to two other type of magnetic traps. This experiment is currently being used to investigate, for the first time, the time-evolution of the phase of a BEC. This will help further our understanding of how quantum mechanics will play a significant role in the development and understanding of future technologies in quantum optics and quantum information science.

In order to further his experience in the field of quantum optics, and having grown accustomed to a warm climate, in October 2011, Dr. Morrissey joined the Quantum Research Group, lead by Prof. Francesco Petruccione at the University of KwaZulu Natal. Here he strives to develop Africa’s first BEC experiment which the intention to study the fundamental behavior of atoms in the quantum regime. The potential of using cold atomic systems as sources for future quantum information technologies is undisputed. The knowledge gained from this current experiment will be invaluable to the development of these technologies in both quantum and optics and quantum information science. On a more fundamental level, the experiment will further develop our understanding of underlying theory of quantum physics. For progress on this experiment you can visit the experiment blog: http://sarbbec.blogspot.com/