Kai's Headshot Figure showing three-level Λ-system used in some quantum memory implementations Figure showing an SEM image of a nanofabricated SiN waveguide Kai Shinbrough

PhD Student

University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign



Kai here. Curly-haired guy in the picture above. This website houses my academic/research information, as well as other personal ruminations.

Academically, I am a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in the group of Prof. Virginia Lorenz, researching quantum optics. I am broadly interested in the interaction between light and matter, and at UIUC specifically I study photonic sources, quantum memories, and lots of other quantum stuff. I am affiliated with IQUIST, the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center, and the Chicago Quantum Exchange through my membership in QISE-NET, the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network. I am an advocate for graduate labor issues at UIUC through the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO), and for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the CQE through the Open Quantum Initiative, which has recently launched an undergraduate fellowship for minoritized students in quantum science. Relatedly, I founded the Illinois Physics Excellence in Outreach, Service, and Diversity Award. I received my undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, a small liberal arts college in rural Ohio, where I received Highest Honors in Physics and Philosophy. In undergrad I investigated isotopic hydrogen adsorption and separation in metal-organic frameworks, under Prof. Stephen Fitzgerald.

Publications in graduate school:
My undergraduate thesis can be found here: Undergrad_Thesis.pdf, and online at the

OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center.

Publications in undergrad:

My CV can be found here: CV.pdf

Personally, I am a long-distance backpacker, woodworker, co-oper, social activist (see, e.g., Physics Graduate Pay Project), and reader with a more-than-passing interest in philosophy. I care deeply about social issues (racial justice, union rights, gun control, scientific-literacy, among others) and believe that direct action is a necessary part of democracy. In 2018, I had the opportunity to express a small part of this view in an OSA (Optical Society of America) member video, included below:

The video is also available on the OSA website here:


If you'd like to get in contact, please email: kai.shinbrough@gmail.com.


This site is hosted by FutureQuest, which has been a reasonably nice web host. TheSiteWizard has been an invaluable resource to my html/css learning, and I'd be remiss if I didn't credit them for it. The html/css for this website was put together using the Brackets editor.

Contact:  Kai Shinbrough Social Media:  LinkedIn Footer image of images from across the website
Office 347, Loomis Laboratory Research Gate
1110 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801 Google Scholar