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Dr Ilya Kuprov 

Associate Professor of Chemical Physics

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Dr Ilya Kuprov is Associate Professor of Chemical Physics within Chemistry at the University of Southampton.



Ilya Kuprov is an Associate Professor of Chemical Physics, having previously been an EPSRC Research Fellow, a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Durham, and a Fellow by Examination at Magdalen College, Oxford.

The area of expertise of Dr Kuprov's research group is Quantum Theory: we are working on quantum mechanical models of magnetic processes, such as those encountered in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Electron Spin Resonance, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Spin Chemistry and related areas. Applications of our research span a huge range of topics, from photosynthesis to parallel computing to quantum control theory. We always have undergraduate and PhD projects available in all of those areas, please get in touch if you are interested.

Research interests

The focus of Dr Kuprov's research group is on theoretical and computational methods of quantum theory. Major recent results are:

1. The development and implementation of a pattern-matching processor for the automated processing of quantum decoherence theory equations. The resulting processor turned out to be superior to human intelligence in what was traditionally the domain of the latter - analytical derivations and transformations.

2. The discovery and implementation of polynomially scaling spin dynamics simulation algorithms, which eliminated decades-old bottlenecks and enabled quantum simulations of dynamics in large coupled spin systems. The resulting open-source software package ( runs full quantum mechanical simulations of systems with over 50 spins in minutes - something that was unthinkable just three years ago.

The recent highlights of collaborative research are:

1. The discovery of the first 'chemical compass' molecule, which changes its properties when rotated with respect to the Earth's magnetic field. This has major implications in our understanding of animal navigation, specifically the mechanisms of 'magnetic sense' exhibited by migratory birds.

2. The development of paramagnetic pH-responsive contrast agents for early-stage MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) cancer diagnostics. Because cancer tissue is frequently more acidic than healthy tissue, these molecules provide tumour-specific contrast in the resulting images. 

The current ongoing research includes:

1. The development of "direct" magnetic resonance molecular structure refinement tools, where atomic coordinates are optimized directly against the experimental spectra. This was made possible by the above mentioned efficient spin dynamics simulation algorithms.

2. The development of standardized markup languages for the description of spin systems and experiments. Inputs used by the existing spectrometers and simulation software are historically convoluted ad hoc schemes, and there is a consensus in the community that a central standard format is required.

3. Theoretical research into the structures and magnetic properties of lanthanide-based paramagnetic MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) contrast agents used in cancer diagnostics.

4. A systematic search for long-lived states in large spin systems for use as magnetization storage pools in magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Research group

Computational Systems Chemistry

Research project(s)

Kuprov: Quantum dynamics simulation algorithms for magnetic systems

Kuprov: Optimal control of quantum systems

Kuprov: Neural network analysis of quantum processes

Kuprov: Quantum mechanical simulation of magnetic resonance imaging

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Key Publications



  • Saywell, J. C., Carey, M., Elcock, D. E., Belal, M., Kuprov, I., & Freegarde, T. (2018). Optimal pulses for enhanced interferometer sensitivity and contrast. Poster session presented at Frontiers in Matter Wave Optics, Crete, Greece.
  • Raybould, T. A., Fedotov, V. A., Papasimakis, N., Kuprov, I., Youngs, I., Chen, W. T., Tsai, D. P., & Zheludev, N. I. (2015). Chiral phenomena in toroidal metamaterials. Paper presented at 9th International Congress on Advanced Electromagnetic Materials in Microwaves and Optics - Metamaterials 2015, United Kingdom.
Dr Ilya Kuprov
Chemistry University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 30/3041

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