Dr Plamen G Petrov

Dr Plamen G Petrov

School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Plamen G. Petrov is a Research Fellow in the Cold Atoms Group, at the Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre. His research is in the field of quantum optics and cold atom physics. The main directions of his research are the generation of multi-spatial mode squeezed light, and the interaction of cold atoms with photonic crystal waveguides. He is also a part of the Quantum Imaging team at the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology.


  • PhD in Physics, Niels Bohr Institute, 2006
  • MSc in Physics, Sofia University, 1997


Plamen Petrov obtained his PhD from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. He worked on the non-destructive characterisation of cold atomic samples in optical traps by off-resonant phaseshift measurement in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer.

In 2006 he started a postdoctoral position at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. There he designed, built and operated an atom chip setup for the generation of Bose-Einstein Condensates. He also did a feasibility study of carbon-nanotube based magnetic trap for ultra-cold atoms.

At the end of 2008 Plamen joined the Centre for Cold Matter at the Imperial College London. There he worked on the interaction of cold atoms with photonic waveguides in an integrated array of atom-photon junctions, combining magnetic fields for trapping and light fields for detection and manipulation.


  • Y2 undergraduate Physics laboratories
  • Y3 Cold Atom Group studies
  • Y4 project supervisor



  • Quantum optics with cold atoms
  • Light – matter quantum interface
  • Generation of non-classical states of light and matter
  • Continuous variables quantum information
  • Atom chips and photonic crystal waveguides
  • Bose-Einstein condensation on an atom chip


Generation of multi-spatial-mode squeezed light

The project aims at generation of “spatially quiet” light beams, where the quantum fluctuations are squeezed over most of the transverse modes. This translates in reduced intensity fluctuations at any point along their transverse profile compared to classical coherent beams. The nonlinear process used to generate these beams is four-wave mixing in hot atomic vapour. The multi-spatial-mode squeezed light can be used to improve the optical resolution in microscopy, to allow optical storage of high density information beyond the diffraction limit, and to implement multimode quantum memories.

Portable spatially multimode squeezed-light source for Quantum Imaging

This project employs four-wave mixing process to generate bright squeezed light for applications in optical imaging experiments limited by the spatial quantum noise of light. These may include particle tracking with quantum-enhanced resolution, imaging of faint objects and noiseless amplification of images. In these scenarios advantage over classical techniques can be gained by employing the quantum correlations between the spatial light modes. This portable squeezed light setup is developed as a part of the Quantum Hub in Sensors and Metrology.

Cold atoms photonic crystal waveguide interface

Photonic crystal waveguides (PhCW) channel the propagation of light in a photonic bandgap material. It has been shown both theoretically and experimentally that PhCWs exhibit slow light effect that can enhance non-linear processes. The aim of this project is to couple single atoms with a nearby photonic crystal in the strong coupling regime. In these conditions it is expected that single photon non-linearity can take place, leading to saturation of the atomic transition with just one photon.


C. S. Embrey, J. Hordell, P. G. Petrov, and V. Boyer,

“Bichromatic homodyne detection of broadband quadrature squeezing”
Optics Express, 24, 27298 (2016)

X. Zang, J. Yang, R. Faggiani, C. Gill, P. G. Petrov, J-P Hugonin, K. Vynck, S. Bernon, Ph. Bouyer, V. Boyer, and Ph. Lalanne,
“Interaction between Atoms and Slow Light: A Study in Waveguide Design”
Phys. Rev. Applied 5, 024003, (2016)

C. S. Embrey, M. T. Turnbull, P. G. Petrov, and V. Boyer
“Observation of Localized Multi-Spatial-Mode Quadrature Squeezing”
Phys. Rev. X, 5, 031004, (2015)

M. T. Turnbull, P. G. Petrov, C. S. Embrey, A. M. Marino, and V. Boyer
"Role of the phase-matching condition in non-degenerate four-wave mixing in hot vapors for the generation of squeezed states of light"
Phys. Rev. A, 88, 033845, (2013)

M. Kohnen, P. G. Petrov, R. A. Nyman, and E. A. Hinds
"Minimally-destructive detection of magnetically-trapped atoms using frequency-synthesised light"
New J. Phys., 13, 085006, (2011)

M. Kohnen, M. Succo, P. G. Petrov, R. A. Nyman, M. Trupke, and E. A. Hinds
"An array of integrated atom-photon junctions"
Nature Photonics, 5, 35-38, (2011)

S. Machluf, J. Coslovsky, P. G. Petrov, Y. Japha, and R. Folman
"Coupling between internal spin dynamics and External degrees of freedom in the presence of colored noise”Phys. Rev. Lett., 105, 203002, (2010)

P. G. Petrov, S. Machluf, S. Younis, R. Macaluso, T. David, B. Hadad, Y. Japha, M. Keil, E. Joselevich, and R. Folman
"Trapping cold atoms using surface-grown carbon nanotubes,"
Phys. Rev. A, 79, 043403, (2009)

P. J. Windpassinger, D. Oblak, P. G. Petrov, M. Kubasik, M. Saffman, C. L. G. Alzar, J. Appel, J. H. M¨uller, N. Kjærgaard and E. S. Polzik
"Nondestructive probing of Rabi oscillations on the Cesium clock transition near the standard quantum limit"
Phys. Rev. Lett., 100, 103601, (2008)

P. G. Petrov, D. Oblak, C.L. Garrido Alzar, N. Kjærgaard, and E.S. Polzik
"Nondestructive interferometric characterization of an optical dipole trap"
Phys. Rev. A, 75, 033803, (2007)

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