EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has received a three-year, $800,000 grant to perform research in Quantum Optics.

The National Science Foundation awarded the grant to Hamidreza Ramezani, according to a news release from the Newsroom at UTRGV.

The research project, “Photonic Lattices for Robust All-Optical Quantum Devices,” will conduct a pioneering research project to propose innovative photonic lattices to study relatively unexplored quantum phenomena.

Quantum optics is the study of how photons as individual quantum particles can be used to build the next generation of quantum computers and devices.

Ramezani is the principal investigator of this project. He said the potential applications of quantum mechanics are vast. In the past decade, scientists and engineers have learned to use the quantum behavior of atoms and photons to create new devices for computing, sensing, and communicating, with unprecedented capabilities.

“This is a big step for the Department of Physics and Astronomy and UTRGV,” Ramezani said. “To my knowledge, this is the first-ever quantum award to UTRGV. My dream is to use this award as a seed to build a quantum center in the Rio Grande Valley that serves our region and our nation.”

Ramezani added that the collaboration with leading scientists at LSU and UCLA will help achieve the goal by enhancing UTRGV’s research capabilities and creating new opportunities for students.