Karen Kheruntsyan


PhD, Masters, and Honours Projects



Research Projects



PhD, Masters, and Honours research projects are available in the following areas of quantum physics:


1. Emergent physics in quantum transport in ultracold atomic gases


The project seeks to understand an open fundamental problem in physics: How do complex microscopic interactions in many-particle systems lead to the emergence of a qualitatively new behavior and to the formation of new states of quantum matter? We will investigate this problem in the context of quantum transport in mesoscopic (with mésos meaning “middle” in Greek) systems made of minimally complex, but highly controllable and well-characterised ensembles of ultracold atomic gases. Such gases, when cooled down to temperatures of just a few nanokelvin above absolute zero, form exotic states of quantum matter such as Bose-Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases, enabling the study of a wide range of phenomena in quantum many-body physics. By developing new theories of quantum transport in mesoscopic condensates, we will shed light on the laws of emergence at the mesoscale and help close the gap in our understanding of what lies in between quantum and classical, simple and complex, and isolated and interacting. Apart from being a fundamental problem, understanding quantum transport and the laws of emergence at the mesoscale has potential practical applications such as bottom-up fabrication of novel materials with new functionality.

From "Conduction of Ultracold Fermions
Through a Mesoscopic Channel"
J-P. Brantut et al., Science 337, 1069 (2012).

2. Stochastic quantum hydrodynamics: a new theoretical approach to nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum many-body systems.


The project aims to develop a new theoretical approach – stochastic quantum hydrodynamics – to understand one of the grand challenges of physics: how do complex, many-particle systems evolve in the quantum realm when driven far from equilibrium? Understanding the out-of-equilibrium behaviour of such systems will help shape a new cornerstone of physics, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, which – unlike its equilibrium counterpart – is a work in progress in modern science. We will uncover the intriguing dynamical properties of superfluid (frictionless) states of ultracold atomic gases, which will help understand how these properties can be used to control quantum matter and develop new quantum technologies.

2D twin beams

3. Macroscopic entanglement and Bell inequality tests with ultra-cold atoms.


The project addresses an open fundamental question in physics of how quantum mechanics applies to systems of mesoscopic and macroscopic sizes. The project will provide theoretical guidance to Australia’s research effort to experimentally demonstrate - for the first time - quantum entanglement between large, spatially separated ensembles of ultracold atoms. Apart from being of quintessential importance to validating some of the foundational principles of quantum mechanics in new realms, controlled generation of large-scale entangled systems is important for harnessing such systems for the development of future quantum devices, as well as for enabling new insights into the unification of quantum theory with gravity.

2D twin beams
See a related work "Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations via dissociation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate" by K. V. Kheruntsyan et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 150405 (2005).




Information resources for prospective students

*) You should approach your prospective supervisor at least a month ahead of any advertised internal UQ School of Maths/Physics deadlines which may be earlier than the advertised UQ Graduate Office/UQ Research Office deadlines.




Five good reasons for doing a PhD project under my supervision

Finally, once your PhD has been confirmed, you will receive a hand-made doctoral cap, personalised to the topic of your project, just like the one that Dr Bob (Robert Lewis-Swan) is wearing here:


Dr. Bob