Paul Barclay


Department of Physics and Astronomy

PhD - Applied Physics

California Institute of Technology, 2007

MSc - Applied Physics

California Institute of Technology, 2003

BASc - Engineering Physics

University of British Columbia, 2001

Contact information


Office: 403.220.8517

Web presence


Office : SB319

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Quantum nanophotonics
  • Solid state quantum optics
  • Quantum sensing
  • Diamond photonics
  • Cavity optomechanics

Research interests

Barclay lab research develops nanophotonic devices for quantum technologies: sensors with unprecedented performance, memories for building a quantum internet, and switches to route photons in quantum networks. To create these novel technologies, group members have become leaders in both the invention of nanofabrication techniques and the demonstration of quantum nanophotonic experiments.

Examples of recent research projects include:

Diamond quantum photonic devices
Spin qubits in diamond are unrivaled in their ability to store quantum information at room temperature. Photonic devices fabricated from diamond are needed to link these qubits for quantum computing and communication technologies.

Diamond optomechanics
Building on the fabrication innovations described above, the Barclay lab developed the field of diamond optomechanics: using light to manipulate mechanical resonators fabricated from diamond.
Diamond is arguably the ultimate material for optomechanical devices. The Barclay lab's high quality diamond devices have opened the door to new experiments in optomechanical information processing.

The Barclay lab recently demonstrated optomechanical control of diamond spin qubit quantum memories. This entirely new approach for connecting light to diamond spins bridges a gap between two fields for the first time.

Nanoscale optomechanical sensors
The ability of optomechanical devices to precisely sense mechanical motion can be harnessed to detect otherwise unmeasurable physical phenomena. The Barclay lab invents new types of optomechanical device to probe nanoscale condensed matter systems.

hBN nanophotonics:
2D materials have the potential to advance approaches for building quantum sensors and quantum communication devices. Barclay lab members are working to realise photonic devices from these emerging materials.


Paul Barclay completed his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2007, where he performed early experiments in nonlinear optics with high-Q silicon photonic crystal cavities. In 2008 he joined Hewlett Packard Labs, in Palo Alto, California, where he helped establish the emerging field of diamond quantum nanophotonics. His undergraduate degree is in Engineering Physics from UBC, where he received the APEGBC Gold Medal.

Since starting his lab at the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Calgary 2011, he has performed pioneering research in the field of diamond photonics, spin-optomechanics, and in nanophotonic quantum sensors.
His group’s impact was recognized in 2019 by the Herzberg Medal for early career researchers from the Canadian Association of Physicists, and in 2017 by an NSERC Discovery Accelerator award. He is a former AITF Scholar and has led two major CFI Innovation Fund projects as well as NSERC and Alberta Innovated Strategic Research Projects. His group members, who also work at the NRC Nanotechnology Research Centre in Edmonton, have won numerous awards, including a Governor General's Gold Medal.

News Stories:

  • 2022:  Elected by the Board of Directors of Optica (Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide) to the 2023 Optica Fellows class (click here for story)
  • 2021:  Awarded funds from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (click here for story)
  • 2021:  Government of Alberta announces over $22M in funding for UCalgary researchers (click here for story)
  • 2021:  Helps create Quantum Internet (click here for story)
  • 2019:  Recipient of the 2019 CAP Herzberg Medal (click here for story)
  • 2019:  Collaborations with communities and industry tackle pressing challenges via NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants (click here for story)
  • 2018:  Honoured at 2018 Peak Scholars celebration (click here for story)
  • 2016:  Paul Barclay and his team make the first-ever nano-sized optical resonator from a single crystal of diamond (click here for story)


For a full list of publications, presentations and documents visit:


  • Herzberg Medal, Canadian Association of Physicists. 2019
  • JILA Visiting Fellow, The University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards & Technology. 2019
  • Peak Scholar Award, The University of Calgary. 2018
  • Early Career Researcher Award, Faculty of Science, The University of Calgary. 2017
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies GREAT Supervisor Award, The University of Calgary. 2017
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies GREAT Supervisor Award, The University of Calgary. 2016
  • iCore/AITF Scholar in Quantum Nanophotonics, iCore/Alberta Innovates Technology Futures. 201