Lila Ton Talks Scholarship & Quantum Optics Research

Undergraduate Researcher Lila Ton
Undergraduate Researcher Lila Ton
Olivia Crowell

Alumna of LSU’s University Laboratory School and Secretary, Society of Physics Students – LSU Chapter, Lila Ton talks about her undergraduate research experience.


What about physics intrigues you most? 

Honestly, I find it amazing how one subject can describe how the entire universe and everything in it behaves, from small-scale topics like quantum mechanics to large-scale like astronomy.


What sparked your interest in Physics?

I always loved math. But in my high school physics class, I was excited to apply the math concepts to physical problems. Given a problem, I could use the mathematical tools that I know and find a solution.


How have you motivated yourself to continue to pursue physics?

I’m always inspired to learn more. I want to continue to be challenged and uncover new concepts and look deeper into the ones I already know!


What do you like/love about LSU Physics & Astronomy?

Hands down, the Physics Library! But in all seriousness, I appreciate how the Physics and Astronomy Department always provides us with great opportunities (like internships or research studies) that can launch our education and career in physics! 


What is your area of research? How is it beneficial?

My area of research is quantum optics! I have been learning how to use compressive sensing to reconstruct an image at the quantum level with less measurements and less photons. Data acquisition is a long process, so this research project will make the entire process cheaper and more efficient!


What do you find most interesting about your field of research?

I’ve been experienced with coding and algorithms from my previous project, but in my current research project, I’ve been enjoying learning how to handle optical equipment. It’s definitely something I’m not used to, and it’s been fun expanding my knowledge on different physics arenas.


Have there been any faculty that have played a role as mentors during your time at LSU?

My first research professor, Dr. Eric Burns, helped me grow as a researcher! He guided me and gave me the necessary amount of independence to figure out problems on my own. He also gave me great advice that will foster my career in the future! 

I currently work with Dr. Chenglong You, and he has been mentoring me specifically with graduate school (which I was very nervous about). He gave me materials and introduced multiple opportunities for me to kickstart my future academic goals!


You are a recipient of the Anna & Willie Austin Scholarship at LSU; how would you encourage others to take advantage of scholarship opportunities?

As a physics student alongside other brilliant young physicists, receiving the Anna & Willie Austin Scholarship gave me a boost of confidence in my academic and research efforts. Also, it gave me the accessibility to apply to graduate school! 

Other students should look towards these opportunities that the LSU Physics Department offers and use them like I have!


One word to describe your academic career as a physics major at LSU.



How beneficial do you think it is to be involved in student organizations at LSU, like SPS?

Physics majors are rare. It’s important to join groups like SPS to make bonds and create connections with your colleagues! It’s good to have people that you can go to with questions in times of need!


Do you have any words of advice for other upcoming or current students pursuing physics?

Physics is a hard subject. There are challenging moments, but that’s what make it so impressive that you are pursuing this intimidating subject and career.


Have there been any resources at the Department of Physics and Astronomy that you have taken advantage of? 

LSU’s Physics Department faculty is constantly emailing students with so many opportunities! I’m so thankful for faculty like Mimi and Dr. Browne always updating us with new events. I’ve really enjoyed the talks that other faculty put on, so I can learn their research and find new physics subjects that interests me! 


What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy anything with arts and crafts! I also love building LEGO sets LOL.


What is your most memorable moment at LSU?

When I was a member of LSU’s Vietnamese Student Association, I participated in their Date Auction! Joining student organizations will bring you plenty of memorable moments


Do you have any upcoming plans after graduation? Such as graduate school, entering the workforce, etc.

I finished my applications for graduate school! I’m hoping to go to graduate school and earn my doctorate in physics!



Article by Angel Willie

Digital Communications Student Worker, LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy

Senior, LSU Manship School of Mass Communications