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Exeter physics undergraduate student Amelia Toghill

Exeter undergraduate publishes a paper in quantum physics

Undergraduate student Amelia Toghill, a third-year physics student at Exeter, has published a scientific paper following an internship in the summer of 2021.

In the summer after her second year at university, Amelia Toghill conducted an internship in quantum physics in the research team of Dr Charles Downing, a theorist in the physics department of the University of Exeter. Amelia was funded by the Royal Society, which allowed her to work for several months over the university summer holidays. Her contributions to the research project led to her being an author of the article “Quantum topology in the ultrastrong coupling regime”, which has just been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The research project was concerned with quantum physics, and how to apply it to concepts from topology, an apparently unrelated field of mathematics. In particular, the research team looked at the behaviour of exotic topological quantum states and how they could persist despite strong interactions in the system, which might be important in the development of future quantum technologies.

Amelia said that “I really enjoyed being embedded in a research group at Exeter and working on cutting edge problems in quantum physics, which was the topic that most interested me from my undergraduate lectures. I learnt many research skills during my internship that I have been able to apply to my studies. In particular, the skills I developed on Python have aided my work on my master's project. I strongly encourage my fellow students to try to take part in future internships”.

Amelia is currently working in an internship at Frazer-Nash, an engineering consultancy, and she is looking forward to attending a summer school on particle physics later this summer. She will be starting her final year of her MPhys degree at Exeter in September 2022, and after that she hopes to secure a job in industrial research.

Dr Charles Downing commented “Amelia joining the team after only two years of undergraduate study here at Exeter, and immediately contributing to our research efforts, shows all of our students what can be achieved with hard work, dedication, and some creativity. Congratulations, Amelia!”

Quantum topology in the ultrastrong coupling regime” is published in Scientific Reports, an open access journal in the Nature Portfolio.

Date: 15 July 2022

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