Aashish Clerk
Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering,
University of Chicago,
5640 S. Ellis Ave.,
Chicago, IL, 60631.
Tel: (773) 834 4568
Office: Eckhart 289
email: aaclerk at uchicago.edu


My group is broadly interested in driven-dissipative quantum phenomena occurring in engineered quantum systems. Our research is at the intersection of condensed matter physics, quantum optics, and quantum information. While we are theorists, we work closely with a number of leading experimental groups around the world.

Brief Bio:

Openings, News, Etc.

  • Oct. 2023: Openings for new postdocs in Sept. 2024 (both in the group, and the U. Chicago Quantum Prize Postdoc Fellowship) Common application link for both positions here
  • Sept. 2022: Press release on our work exploring quantum sensing using superradiance.
  • Jan. 2022: Physics World article on our work on generating non-classical light with extremely weak interactions.

Research Interests

  • Driven-dissipative quantum systems
  • Quantum measurement, sensing and metrology
  • Quantum optics and optomechanics
  • Superconducting circuits and qubits


Effective temperature (possibly negative!) of incoherently tunneling Cooper pairs. Read the paper.

Recent Research Highlights

Topological bosonic states via squeezing


There is enormous interest in engineering topological photonic systems, where topological protection guarantees the existence of robust edge modes. Most works in this field amount to replicating a well-known fermionic single-particle Hamiltonian. We recently studied a class of systems where this correspondence fails. Here, topology is induced by coherent two-photon driving (i.e. parametric driving). While these systems have a Hamiltonian resembling that of a fermionic topological superconductor, the bosonic physics is completely different. In particular, the topologically-protected edge states can act as frequency-converting channels, and can even serve as quantum-limited amplifiers and squeezed light sources. It is even possible to construct bosonic systems that are reminiscent of the fermionic Kitaev-Majorana chain.

Nature Communications, 2016

Phys. Rev. X, 2016

Phys. Rev. X, 2018

Phys. Rev. B, 2021

Enhanced quantum sensing using quantum quenches


Some of the most common quantum sensing protocols exploit the dephasing of a probe qubit to study a a system of interest. Our work shows these methods can be made more powerful by making use of a quantum quench that is inadvertently induced on the probed system as part of standard protocols. These methods give rise to anomalous qubit phase shifts, which can be directly used to extract spectral functions of the probed system. This allows a parameter free measurement of temperature, and even the detection of non-thermal equilibrium states. These ideas are applicable to a range of sensing platforms, including nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond and superconducting circuits.

Nature Commun., 2021