Working with other brilliant students and researchers are some of Daniele's best memories from KTH
Daniele Lopriore graduated from the master’s programme in Engineering Physics (Quantum Technology track) in 2022. He is now set to pursue PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich.
Hi Daniel, what are you working on at the moment?
I have not started yet, but I am set to pursue my PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich. I graduated at the start of July and will begin my PhD in mid-September. My work will involve realising an on-chip quantum transducer between microwave and optic signals.
What do you expect a day as a PhD student will look like?
I have no experience from PhD studies so far, but I can answer based on my experience at KTH during my degree project. I also worked at KTH last summer, closely collaborated with PhD students, and got to experience part of their life. A regular day starts at around 8:30/9:00 and ends at 17:00, sometimes later. Some weeks can be spent at the computer or trying to understand why an experiment doesn't work; these periods can be frustrating. On the other hand, days can consist of laboratory work and data analysis. There are weekly group meetings to attend, where you summarise your progress and try to clarify your doubts. It is a challenging but also very active job. But most of all, it is a fulfilling experience because you develop something new that is deeply intertwined with your interests.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics at Milan's Polytechnic University. My favourite courses were Quantum Mechanics and Solid State Physics. I chose KTH for my master's studies because I needed to broaden my academic perspective and experience in a new country and a type of education I was not used to. In addition, the Quantum Technology track at KTH satisfied my need for practical work. There are courses involving advanced experiments in the Physics department, in topics I am deeply interested in. I greatly appreciate that Sweden offers academic training where interaction with the research world and apprenticeships are encouraged early on.
Are there any insights you acquired at KTH that have been extra useful for you?
I am about to start my PhD studies in Munich, and I have to say that the skills I acquired during my degree project work have helped me immensely in getting the position I applied for. These include extensive training at the Albanova nanofabrication facility and a year-long experience in the Nanostructure Physics group. Especially during the last year of my master's studies, I learned the dynamics and the life of a research group and got to assist a few PhD students.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
I would definitely start by saying that any student in this programme should aim at taking the project course in Applied Physics. This is the course I benefitted the most from in my career, which also shaped my master's degree project. I learned to use some of the most advanced laboratory equipment available at KTH, such as the SEM or a liquid He-3 cryostat I would employ to cool down superconducting samples to 300 mK! These months were exciting. I want to stress that meeting many brilliant students, researchers and professors and getting to collaborate with them was a highlight at KTH. Science is rarely made by one person. It is first of all about learning from others, sharing and thinking together.
What is your best memory from your time at the universities?
Seeing and manipulating a cryostat and witnessing the thermometer going below the 1K mark is one of the memories that stick with me. I had read a few articles about cryogenic experiments and had always been fascinated by these extreme temperatures. If you are a student interested in Applied Physics and applying for the Quantum Technology track, you also have a great chance to experience these moments! On a more social level, student life is very active and organised at KTH (and in Sweden in general). Every faculty has its chapter and pub once a week. I fondly remember a few evenings at the Physics pub, where I made some friends I still am in touch with.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to further consolidate my knowledge in Applied Physics because I want to work in research. That is why I am pursuing PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich. It was a tough choice to leave KTH, but to go back to one of my previous thoughts, I am eager to discover new research environments and have new experiences now that I am young. KTH is a big part of my latest accomplishments and boosting my CV.
What would you want to say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
I would say that quality-wise, they are applying to a very advanced institution, especially concerning practical work, which is the experience I can relate to. On the more theoretical side, there are many opportunities as well. A colleague of mine tested and programmed two superconducting qubits at the Nanostructure Physics group, by using the Presto digital microwave platform, whose creators happen to have their office at the Physics department! Within Quantum Technology, one can also get to know groups working in Spintronics, Quantum Nano Photonics or in Biophotonics, among others. Finally, KTH gives much freedom to build the study plan one prefers, which is both an advantage and sometimes risky. Asking for advice from professors and other students about course choices is essential for a fully satisfying experience at KTH.