Alexander Ling

As a principal investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, Dr Alexander Ling focuses on using optical quantum technology to improve how protected information is transmitted over long distances. He is now working on sending palm-sized photon machines out to space on satellites by the end of this year.

Quantum optics in simple terms

“It’s the study of packets of light energy (photons) that can be treated as particles. It was only in the 1900s that physicists collected sufficient evidence to demonstrate that light can behave as particles. Nowadays, we treat light as having both wave and particle behaviour.”

How it all began

“What really influenced my passion for physics was watching how my father designed and built things as a welder. Putting things together requires an understanding of how the different bits interact and physics gives us a model about how different parts of our material world can interact.”

Dealing with setbacks

“Setbacks are part of research work — you have to fail often in order to know what not to try. The trick is to also to learn from the failure of others so that the learning period is shorter.”