19 Apr 2021

Meet Dr Nilanjana Datta


Nilanjana is a member of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Her current research interests are Quantum Information Theory and Mathematical Physics. 

Early Life & Education

Born in West Bengal, Nilanjana graduated from Jadavpur University with a Master of Science, she later did a Masters at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. In 1995 she obtained a PhD from ETH Zürich.


Before moving into the field of Quantum Information Theory, Nilanjana’s research field was in Quantum Statistical Mechanics. Part of her PhD thesis was also on the Quantum Hall Effect.

Since 2002, her research has mostly been in the field of Quantum Information Theory. Quantum information science looks to understand the analysis, processing and transmission of information through the lens of quantum mechanics principles. It combines the study of information science with quantum effects in physics.

Nilanjana has been working on various aspects of this field including…

  • Data compression for sources with memory
  • Perfect transfer of quantum states and entanglement over spin networks
  • Additivity conjectures of the Holevo capacity and the minimum output entropy for various models of quantum channels
  • Complementary channels
  • Capacities of quantum channels with memory
  • Entanglement manipulation
  • The evaluation of the optimal rates of various quantum information protocols using the Quantum Information Spectrum method.
Meet Dr Nilanjana Datta | Stemettes Zine

She is a Reader in Quantum Information Theory, in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics of the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Pembroke College. Readers divide their time between classroom hours, preparing for teaching and presenting research findings at conferences worldwide.

Optimal rates of quantum information protocols, such as storage and transmission of information, or manipulation of entanglement, are usually evaluated under the consideration of asymptotically many uses of the underlying resources (i.e., the sources, channels or entanglement resources used in the protocol). In reality, the resources are used a finite number of times. This justifies my recent research which entails the evaluation of optimal rates for a finite number of uses (or even a single-use) of the relevant resource. These rates are often referred to as one-shot rates.

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