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University of Toronto

Awards and Recognitions

Recent awards for students and faculty in the Department of Physics.


PhD candidate Milica Banic is the 2022 recipient of the Xanadu Award for an Outstanding Publication by a PhD Student.

Milica Banic

With support from Xanadu, the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Department of Physics have established this $5,000 scholarship, which is awarded to one or more PhD students in the Department of Physics in recognition of the publication of a peer-reviewed article in an academic journal on a topic related to quantum information and quantum optics.

This award is the result of a donation of $25,000 over five years from Xanadu, a Toronto-based start-up company with close ties to the Department of Physics. A number of former post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and undergraduate students are affiliated with Xanadu and Xanadu continues to work with U of T Physics faculty through the MITACS Program.

Due to their current and past relationships with the University of Toronto, Xanadu founder and CEO Christian Weedbrook says “we wanted to encourage students in the field of quantum information and quantum optics and to let them know that Xanadu, and many other quantum startups in Canada, exist when they graduate.”

Application requirements include a peer-reviewed article on a topic related to quantum information and quantum optics and a cover letter explaining the significance of the paper in one or two paragraphs.

Milica Banic was selected by the Xanadu Award Committee of the Department of Physics in winter 2022. She received the award for her paper "Generation of photon pairs by stimulated emission in ring resonators".

Milica describes the paper - "We study the generation of photon pairs by a nonlinear process called stimulated third order parametric down-conversion (TOPDC). We discuss some differences between this pair generation scheme and others which are commonly employed, and by calculating its efficiency in a microring resonator, we argue that it should soon be possible to demonstrate this process in integrated photonic devices."

When asked what this award means to her she says "Our hope is that publishing this work will lead to interest from the community in integrated TOPDC, which has not been seriously discussed in the literature. I especially hope to see efforts towards the design of platforms for TOPDC. Progress in this area could eventually make other TOPDC processes viable, which would open the possibility of generating different types of non-classical light for use in larger systems. I see this award as a sign that this work could indeed have the impact that we envision, which is very encouraging."

Read the award winning paper here:

More on Xanadu:

Amar Vutha among U of T's 33 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs


The program supports exceptional work across a wide variety of fields. At U of T, that includes everything from marine epidemiology and precision medicine to research into sustainable bioproducts.

Amar Vutha received a renewed Canada Research Chair in Precision Atomic and Molecular Physics.

With the renewal, Vutha's work goes on. He says, "someone needs to find lab-based evidence for that weird dark stuff that astronomers claim is all over the universe; and we still don't know why everything is made of matter rather than anti-matter. My students and I want to build more precise measuring tools -- atomic clocks and molecular gyroscopes -- to check if physics works".

When asked what this renewed research chair means to him he said "it implies a reassertion of faith in my group's research program. So I am grateful to the university and the Canadian physics community for continuing to support precision measurements as a way to discover fundamental physics."

Government of Canada Press Release:

Government of Canada Research Chairs webpages:

U of T News Announcement:

Professor Amar Vutha's Webpage:

Dr. Xiaoqing Zhong's paper has been chosen as an Editors' suggestion in APS Physical Review Applied


The project is a collaboration between U of T Physics Prof. Hoi-Kwong Lo and Prof. Li Qian's group in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Zhong was a co-supervised student.

Establishing secure encryption keys between any two users in a long-range communication network is important. Twin-field quantum key distribution (TFQKD), while promising for this application due to its tolerance to loss and its measurement-device-independent feature, has been limited to two users because of its requirement that phase stability of optical signals from any of the communicating user pairs be established regardless of their locations in the network. In this work, the authors demonstrate a TFQKD network by connecting three users in a Sagnac fiber ring, a configuration that provides inherent phase stability. This experiment suggests that the Sagnac TFQKD system is an effective and practical approach to implementing a long-range and secure communication network.

Read the full paper here:

Professor Yong-Baek Kim Awarded 2022 Simons Fellowship

YB Kim

Professor Kim was awarded the fellowship for his project "Emergent Quantum Phases in Strongly Interacting Quantum Matter".

The Simons Fellows program extends academic leaves from one term to a full year, enabling recipients to focus solely on research for the long periods often necessary for significant advances.

To honor the 2022 Simons Fellowship recipients, the Simons Foundation has placed an ad in the ``Science Times'' section of the New York Times (February 22 edition).

Arts and Science News:
Simons Foundation Announcement:

Professor Hoi-Kwong Lo Among most Productive and Impactful Authors


The list appeared in the paper "Quantum Cryptography Research: A Scientometric Assessment of Global Publications during 1992-2019" in the journal Science and Technology Libraries.

The study examined global “Quantum Cryptography” research on a set of quantitative and qualitative metrics to understand the status of research in the subject at global, national, institutional, and individual level. The analysis was based on publication data in the subject comprising a total of 10801 publications as indexed in the Scopus database covering the period 1992–2020.

The study provided a window to most productive countries, research organizations and authors in the subject, to most popular broad subject areas in research, to top modes of research communication, and in addition it describes the characteristics of highly cited papers. The study mapped the most productive countries, organizations, authors, and keywords in the context of collaborative research.

Professor Lo appears on page 15 under the list of "Quantum cryptography collaborative research networks – collaborative linkages among most productive authors, 1992–2019."

He says "I feel honoured by the result. And, I would like to thank the University of Toronto and my mentors, colleagues, collaborators and graduate students for their hard work and strong support. The result would not have been possible without them"


Professor Yong-Baek Kim Awarded 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship


On April 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 180 exceptional individuals. Chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2500 applicants, these successful applicants were appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. See the list of new Fellows here.

University of Toronto Department of Physics' Professor Yong-Baek Kim was awarded the fellowship in the physics category. His fellowship project title is "Quantum Entanglement and Dynamics in Quantum Matter."

He says, "Receiving the Guggenheim fellowship is a great honor for me. While I have done my research to mainly pursue my own curiosity, it's wonderful to be appreciated by peer intellectuals. I have been privileged to meet and work with so many talented people, especially my former and current students and postdoctoral fellows. I thank them for generously sharing their insights."

“Now that the past two years are hopefully behind all of us, it is a special joy to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “This year marks the Foundation’s 97th annual Fellowship competition. Our long experience tells us what an impact these annual grants will have to change people’s lives. The work supported by the Foundation will aid in our collective effort to better understand the new world we’re in, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It is an honor for the Foundation to help the Fellows carry out their visionary work.”

In all, 51 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 81 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 33 to 75. Close to 60 Fellows have no full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like climate change, pandemics, Russia, feminism, identity, and racism.



Professor Jason Harlow is the Recipient of a 2021-2022 Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award for his Exemplary Teaching

Jason Harlow

Jason Harlow, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Physics has been named as the recipient of a 2021-2022 Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award.

Jason has been a pillar of the Physics Department's undergraduate program since first being appointed as Lecturer at U of T in 2005. His contributions to curriculum development and teaching innovations, including the redesign of the undergraduate laboratories, have led to the active-learning model now employed in our first-year physics courses.

Jason has undertaken many innovative teaching initiatives over the past 15+ years. Particularly notable was his early adoption of online teaching, starting with the creation of asynchronous videos in 2009, followed by many other pedagogical innovations.

As a leading educator, Jason has had a highly positive impact on the Physics Department, not only through his teaching and service, but also through his contributions to public outreach, the Physics Mentorship Program, TA training, and the informal support he provides to faculty and students. Jason's nomination file demonstrated widespread enthusiasm for his contributions and his achievements as an outstanding teacher.

When asked what this award means to him, Jason said "I’m really thrilled to be recognized with this award. I know a lot of student input was involved in the decision, so it means a lot to me that my students had a positive experience. These students are the reason I’m here! I look forward to continuing to push forward with innovations and teaching developments with my amazing colleagues in the department as we transition to post-COVID."


Jason Harlow

Jason Harlow

Has been promoted to the rank of Professor, Teaching Stream, effective July 1, 2022.

Qinya Liu


Has been promoted to the rank of Professor, Tenure Stream effective July 1, 2022.