Szymon Pustelny


Scientist, entrepreneur, husband, and father



My research revolves around nonlinear and quantum optics and atomic physics, with a special focus on the interaction of laser light with atoms in presence of magnetic fields. One of a main area of my activities is optical magnetometry – the most sensitive technique for measuring magnetic fields. Over the years, I have developed many techniques for measuring both static and oscillating magnetic fields, with femtotesla and subfemtotesla sensitivity. This allowed me to explore applications of optical magnetometry in (fundamental) physics, but also chemistry and biology. Nowadays, I am searching for exotic spin couplings, particularly those associated with dark matter. I am also investigating interaction of the electromagnetic radiations with ultrarelativistic highly stripped ions. In chemistry, I work on zero- and ultralow field nuclear magnetic resonance, an exotic incarnation of well-known technique of nuclear magnetic resonance. In biology, work on applications of optical magnetometry in detection of biomagnetic fields generated by humans. More on all the research can be found below.


Optical magnetometry is a powerful technique for measuring magnetic fields. By analyzing the parameters of light traversing a medium subjected to the field, it is possible to detect field changes of static and oscillating magnetic fields with the highest sensitivity ever demonstrated. The simplicity and affordability of optical magnetometers make them accessible for use in a wide range of fields, including physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science.


One of my interests is quantum state engineering. Their goal is the controlled generation of specific quantum states in atoms of alkali metal pairs, which can be a physical implementation of qubits, qutrits and quintes, and the use of light and magnetic field for the physical implementation of quantum logical operations. This research may bring the creation of an optical quantum computer closer.


Ultralight bosonic matter is a promising candidate for dark matter. The extremely low mass of these bosons, such as axions, dilatons, and dark photons, makes them difficult to detect with conventional techniques as they manifest in the form of oscillating or transient couplings. To overcome this, with a group of collaborators, I proposed a new methodology to search for ultralight bosons with a network of synchronized and geographically separated optical magnetometers called GNOME. GNOME enables the testing of previously unexplored theoretical models and the search for different structures of dark matter.