Quantum Burn-in

Physics Happens in A Dark Space

Part of the exhibition Physics Happens in A Dark Space(Shoreditch Town Hall,10th -15th May,2014), this is a group project collaborating with Quantum Physics PhD student Claudio Polisseni from Imperial College London.

Claudio’s work involves looking at the properties of a particular kind of particles; the focus is on the reflective features of certain molecules. When excited under certain conditions, molecules give out photons that can be used for quantum information processing.

This experimental methodology seeks to plot the lifetime of a given set of molecules: that is, for how long a certain molecule is excited for. As a consequence the main visual outputs of the work carried out by Claudio are two: an image, or scan, of various molecules reflecting light at different moments in time, illustrated as the image below:

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 13.51.46

We focused on the dataset from the experiment and decided to transfer this mirror-like reflection properties to a human-scale interaction using afterimage, an optical illusion which continues to appear in one’s vision after the exposure to the original image has ceased. Its most common form is the bright glow that seems to float before one’s eyes after looking into a light source for a few seconds.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 14.15.03

We created a panel with white LEDs and mapped the lifespan of photons to different light intensities of the LEDs, which will leave different time of afterimage in experiencers’ eyes, as a visual metaphor of the Claudio’s research.


Design and mechatronics, collaboration with Francesco Tacchini and Laura Gottlieb. Photo and illustration by Francesco Tacchini and Xinglin Sun.

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