Prof. Mackillo Kira Elected OSA Fellow for contributions to quantum optics

Kira was recognized for his pioneering contributions to the theory of semiconductor quantum optics.

Prof. Mackillo Kira Enlarge

Prof. Mackillo Kira was named Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA) for “pioneering contributions to the theory of semiconductor quantum optics.”

Kira’s research intersects fundamental physics, quantum engineering, and high-performance computing. He has done foundational work in the areas of semiconductor optics theory, quantum optics, and nanophotonics.

While a postdoc at the University of Marburg, Kira worked with theoretical physicist Prof. Stephan Koch and a team of researchers to develop the “Marburg Approach” to many-body problems in semiconductors. Many-body theory is crucial to designing practical optoelectronic devices based on semiconductors, such as lasers or LEDs.

Semiconductor Quantum Optics textbook by Kira Enlarge

Kira pioneered the field of theoretical semiconductor quantum optics, which is expected to lead to quantum devices with unprecedented performance. This area of research, as one example, informs communication protocols that manipulate single photons for improved security. He developed the Semiconductor Luminescence Equations in 1997, which set the standard for describing light emission of semiconductor nanostructures.

He co-authored the book Semiconductor Quantum Optics with Koch in 2012, considered the definitive textbook in the field.

Kira also is a pioneer of the relatively new field of quantum-optical spectroscopy. His work combining quantum spectroscopy with many-body theory led to the important discovery of the “dropleton,” a new optical excitation.

Recently, Kira and his collaborators in Germany developed a technique to manipulate electrons with light, which could bring quantum computing up to room temperature – a breakthrough in the development of a true quantum computer.

Kira earned his PhD in physics from the Helsinki University of Technology. Before coming to Michigan in 2016, he was a professor at the Phillips University of Marburg, where he earned the title Teacher of the Year in 2007. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Read more about Kira’s recent research

Light could make semiconductor computers a million times faster or even go quantum (May 3, 2018)
Ultrashort light pulses for fast ‘lightwave’ computers (March 13, 2017)