Shining a Light on the Future: Anchita Addhya’s Quantum Quest at University of Chicago

In the bustling corridors of the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), a passionate graduate student researcher, Anchita Addhya, is making waves with her groundbreaking work. Since joining the prestigious High Lab in 2019, Addhya has been at the forefront of quantum research, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with light and lasers.

Anchita Addhya isn’t just any researcher; she’s a visionary in the making. With a profound love for lasers, Addhya has dedicated her studies to designing nanophotonic and nano plasmonic structures. These aren’t just fancy terms; they’re ultra-small devices that have the monumental task of controlling light. Working out of the state-of-the-art Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility at the Eckhardt Research Center, Addhya brings her intricate designs to life, characterizing them with precision at her high-tech optical bench in High Lab.

The ambition behind her work is nothing short of revolutionary. Addhya’s current projects are focused on constructing a scalable quantum platform. This isn’t just about scientific exploration; it’s about paving the way for “unhackable” communications through quantum states and developing ultra-sensitive quantum sensors. These sensors could one day detect biological and chemical changes at the molecular level, revolutionizing how we understand the world around us.

For Addhya, it’s not just about the technology; it’s about the impact. “I want to see that what I’m doing will actually make an impact,” she shares. This vision for application-oriented designs and cutting-edge technology is what drives her relentless pursuit of innovation.

Her journey to the High Lab began after completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata, India. Addhya chose PME for its collaborative environment and interdisciplinary fluidity, a decision she hasn’t regretted. “When I saw PME, I realized that it is very flexible,” Addhya explains. This flexibility and the supportive guidance from  Asst. Prof. Alex High have allowed her to explore and integrate diverse fields, fostering an innovative and collaborative research environment that she deeply values.

Beyond her research, Addhya plays a vital role in the PME community as a student leader of the Peer Mentoring Program. She encourages incoming students to immerse themselves in the wealth of opportunities available at PME and UChicago, advising them to “Make use of the resources. Check emails. Talk to people outside your lab and your discipline.”

Anchita Addhya’s story is more than just a tale of academic achievement; it’s a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the incredible potential of quantum research to transform our future. As she continues her work, the promise of what her innovations could bring to the world keeps us eagerly watching, ready for the next breakthrough in quantum engineering.

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