Kang-Kuen Ni, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University


2022 Experimental Physics Investigator

Kang-Kuen Ni, Ph.D.
Image credit: Nathan Fiske

Research Description

Molecules have spins and can rotate, vibrate, and interact like tiny quantum-mechanical gyroscopes, springs, and magnets. All of these molecular degrees-of-freedom can store energy and exert force, and when under control, are key ingredients to realize a robust quantum correlation of particles for computation, sensing, and simulation. However, getting molecules under such precise control is challenging.

Kang-Kuen Ni’s research aims to combine molecules and excited atoms in a new platform to demonstrate an essential ingredient of quantum computing – quantum gates. This experimental system will also allow high-fidelity preparation and measurement for molecules in a desired state, necessary to unlock molecular quantum resources. In addition, Dr. Ni’s research team aims to explore chemical reactions as a new mechanism to generate pairs of molecules with counterintuitive quantum correlations known as entanglement.

Research Impact

The goal to this scientific research is to unlock the information-processing power of quantum mechanics by developing methods to combine many perfectly-controlled quantum particles. So far, tantalizing quantum effects have been demonstrated in small systems and harnessed for quantum sensing, quantum computing and creating exotic phases of matter. Dr. Ni’s research team aims to create new physical systems by exploring two approaches to entangle molecules, which would allow ever larger and more powerful many-body systems for simulation, computation, and metrology.


related links

Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative Science Harvard University, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Back


PhD, Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder
BS, Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

Affiliated Investigators