Kavli Institute Nanoscience Highlights

by Alan S. Brown

Summer 2023

The Author

Kavli Institute researchers have spent an active summer, publishing advances in everything from quantum and superconducting materials to bionanoscience, quantum optics, and the development of new devices capable of storing quantum information as vibrations for prolonged periods of time.


As researchers achieve ever more precise control over materials and nanostructures, their ability to manipulate quantum phenomena grows. This starts with a more detailed understanding of material behavior.

Bio-inspired nanoscience

While nanoscience tools have led to many advances in biology and medicine, they are also enabling new ways to think about information processing.

  • A case in point is the work of Alireza Marandi at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech, who explores using light instead of electrons for computing. Instead of trying to replicate the devices used in digital computing, he is drawing inspiration from ants and termites, who build large, ventilated nests using simple structural rules. His goal is to create self-assembling cells that can process information without the auxiliary devices typically required for moving and storing light-based information.
  • At the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Discovery at Oxford, George Tofaris is unraveling the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease. We already know that when the brain fails to eliminate a protein that helps neurons communicate, it builds up and kills adjacent neurons. Tofaris has developed a new tool that enabled his team to locate three sites that destroy this protein, giving investigators a new target for potential therapies.


The quantum nature of light—its ability to act as both a particle and a wave—has attracted research attention for generations.


There are a seemingly unlimited number of ways nanoscale structures can influence quantum interactions.

Written by Alan S. Brown