About Us

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About Us

Optics is a fascinating field of study, both for students who are primarily interested in the fundamental questions of nature as well as those who are driven to excel in a technical industrial career. There is a long tradition of optics in science, from ancient times to Newton and Einstein, continuing through many Nobel prizes, and leading to the present. The ability to control light and matter with high precision opens the possibility for new discoveries and inventions, including new lasers, new optical materials, new interactions of light and matter at the quantum level, and new devices in diverse areas ranging from optical communication to optical medicine.

The Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science (OMQ) seeks to promote and facilitate research and education in the sciences wherever optics, spectroscopy, quantum science and the physical investigation of atomic and molecular processes are involved — in either fundamental aspects or technological applications. It provides administrative support and facilities to assist in carrying out scientific research, promotes scientific interactions amongst members and with the wider academic and industrial research and development communities. Students—undergraduate, Master’s and PhD—are involved in all aspects of research at the center. OMQ fosters a collegial and stimulating intellectual environment that promotes the advancement, dissemination and application of scientific knowledge. 

Research Focus

The Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science (OMQ) encompasses research in basic and applied aspects of optics in physics and physical chemistry. Members of the OMQ are faculty in the Physics and Chemistry departments. Associate Members are from these departments as well as institutions outside of the University of Oregon. Students—undergraduate, masters and PhD—are involved in all aspects of research at the OMQ. Students wishing to participate in optics-related research in the OMQ enter the university through one of the academic departments, typically Physics or Chemistry, where they pursue course work according to the standards of those departments.

Quantum optics
Condensed matter physics
Theoretical quantum chaos and semiclassical physics
Optical devices
Fluorescence fluctuation and ultrafast laser spectroscopy
Quantum information
Quantum control
Semiconductor optical physics
Nonlinear optics and lasers

Explore research groups  

At the Heart of Science on Campus

The Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science (OMQ) is housed in Willamette Hall, which is a part of six interconnected buildings that form the science complex.  Completed in 1989, Willamette Hall contains 136,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom, and office space.  Centered on the breath-taking four-story Olum Atrium and equipped with wireless internet access throughout, Willamette Hall is an inviting space in which to work and study.

The science complex also boasts a dedicated Science Library.  The Science Library holds most of the UO Libraries’ materials related to biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and environmental studies.  The Science Library offers 300,000 volumes and over 3,500 journals dedicated to science.  Far more is available in electronic format.  The Science Library also has an Information Technology Center (ITC), which provides access to graphics, multimedia, and scientific computing applications.

Willamette Hall and Science Library

advanced project lab

Learn With Us

For graduate students, optics provides opportunities for research in fundamental areas of physics and chemistry. At the same time, optics also provides an enabling set of technologies for application in the life sciences and industry.

Graduate Program

The SPICE Program

SPICE, the Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Enthusiasm, serves as outreach for the OMQ. SPICE provides summer camps and science outreach to support girls developing science identities and interests. For more information, click on the link below:

SPICE Website



The University of Oregon is a member of The Northwest Quantum Nexus (NQN).  The NQN is a coalition of research and industrial organizations in the Pacific Northwest and neighboring regions with the goal of advancing Quantum Information Sciences (QIS) research and developing a QIS-trained workforce. A core focus of NQN is scalable quantum computing for clean energy, with principal research directions in applications for quantum computing, quantum algorithms, and materials for QIS.  https://nwquantum.com