Paul Barclay

Associate Professor

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 : SB135


  • PHYS 507 - Solid State Physics    
  • PHYS 543 - Quantum Mechanics II    
  • PHYS 259 - Electricity and Magnetism (for students in Engineering)

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Atomic Physics
  • Optomechanics
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Quantum Optics in Diamond
  • Nanophotonics
  • Nanoscience

Research interests

My lab studies topics in nanophotonics, quantum optics, and nonlinear optics. Generally, the goal of research in nanophotonics is to create technology to manipulate light within micro- and nanoscale circuits. Nanophotonic circuits are created with many of the same nanoscale fabrication and patterning tools and techniques used to create electronic microchips, and are beginning to play a role in high performance computing and data center architectures at companies like HP, IBM and Intel.

From a more fundamental perspective, nanophotonic devices can create extremely high electromagnetic energy densities at even the single photon level. They accomplish this by concentrating optical energy into nanoscale volumes, and trapping it there for relatively long lengths of time (above a nanosecond, which is a million times longer than a single oscillation at the frequency of light). These enhanced electromagnetic energy densities result in strong interactions between light and the nanophotonic devices, and amplify nominally small optical effects such as nonlinear absorption and optical coupling to mechanical resonances. In the ultimate limit, even for a weak input consisting of only a single photon, these effects can significantly modify the linear response of a nanophotonic device.

Specific projects that utilize these ideas and technology, and that our lab is interested in pursuing are listed below. For updates on our latest work, check our publications.

  • Diamond nanophotonics and quantum optics: spin-photon interactions in diamond for quantum informations processing.
  • Optomechanics: optically driven mechanical effects in nanoscale devices.
  • Environmental sensing: robust and compact optical sensors of environmental metrics.
  • Atomic physics: integrating nanophotonics with experiments using laser cooled atoms.




For a full list of publications, presentations and documents visit the archival IQST website, IQIS/NINT nanophotonics lab site or Google Scholar.


  • 2011 - Alberta Innovates Technology Futures Scholar Award - Alberta Innovates