Description of the challenges faced by the Tech Project
The challenge is to realize a macroscopic demonstration device that emulates microscopic quantum physics on a scale visible to the naked eye. To this end, we have to translate an abstract invisible concept into a colourful artwork explaining the underlying principles. The Institute for Physics at the University of Rostock will provide the artist with office space, laboratory space and equipment, discussion opportunities, and special training in lasers, optics and electronics.
Brief description of technology
Light in free space travels only along straight lines. However, modern technology allows to confine light in centimetre-sized chip structures by forcing it to follow predescribed paths. To this end, light is captured by structured materials known as waveguides, and distributed at will through a complex network of such waveguides. Using this technology, light is capable of performing sophisticated computational tasks beyond the capability of traditional computers, paving the way for a radically new paradigm of computing technology. The task is now to develop an environment in which a viewer is able to directly see the propagation of light waves through a complex network of waveguides, and how it interacts in order to perform a computational task. We will develop a demonstration device in which the viewer can choose to illuminate different waveguides and create individual light patterns that resemble the calculation.
What the project is looking to gain from the collaboration and what kind of artist would be suitable
This residency seeks to develop an artwork that will brighten the viewer’s understanding of one of the most important developments of modern quantum physics. An artist is ideally suited to tackle this challenge in a unique way, employing his/her knowledge of transporting content such as abstract concepts on an emotional level. Emotions are deeply memorable and persist longer than an acquired knowledge of abstract principles.
Resources available to the artist
The Institute for Physics is a renowned research and training institution with a long history of public dissemination of scientific topics (e.g. International Day of Light, weekend lectures for the public). The 4-month residency will be for one artist who is also responsible for the acquisition of the required consumables such as lasers, optical fibres, polarizers etc. The Institute for Physics will provide the artist with office space, laboratory space and equipment, internet and library access, discussion opportunities, and special training in lasers, optics and electronics. The artist will be immersed in a fully equipped, active research laboratory.