Darrick Chang – Theoretical Quantum-Nano Photonics Research Group at ICFO

Our research focuses on developing novel techniques to manipulate quantum interactions between light and matter, advancing theoretical tools to understand these phenomena, and proposing novel applications for such systems. Topics that we are interested in include, but are not limited to:

  • Atom-nanophotonics interfaces
  • Quantum optics and atomic physics
  • Quantum optics using atomic arrays
  • Nanoscale optical trapping techniques
  • Quantum vacuum (Casimir) forces
  • Optomechanics
  • Graphene optics and nanomechanics


We work on a combination of fundamental and applied research in these areas, and furthermore collaborate with leading experimental groups worldwide to bring our ideas toward realization.

Short biography

Darrick Chang is an ICREA Research Professor at The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics from Stanford University in 2001, and his PhD in physics from Harvard University in 2008. Subsequently, he held a prize postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. In 2011, Darrick joined ICFO as the leader of the Theoretical Quantum Nanophotonics group. He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2015. He has participated in or currently participates in several international projects, including serving as a PI and scientific coordinator of European FET-Open project GRASP, as a PI in the Quantum Flagship project QIA, and as a foreign collaborator in US MURI projects QOMAND and Photonic Quantum Matter.

Research interests

The research of Prof. Chang and his Theoretical Quantum Nanophotonics group at ICFO is based upon a vision that quantum effects are at the forefront of future technologies and discoveries, and that nanophotonic systems will be a prominent platform for this frontier. Specifically, they aim to harness the unique configurability, large optical forces, and strong light-matter interaction strengths achievable in nanophotonic systems to produce new applications and phenomena involving matter and light, which have no analogue in macroscopic setups. The group also develops theoretical techniques that enable a better understanding of the complex phenomena at play. The work is highly inter-disciplinary, and the group explores the potential impact across atomic physics, quantum optics, nonlinear optics, nano-mechanics, low-dimensional materials, and quantum information science. They also collaborate with leading experimental groups to bring their theoretical ideas toward reality.

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