Dr Yaseera Ismail

Dr Yaseera Ismail is currently a Senior lecturer within the Department of Physics at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She graduated in 2011 with her Masters of Science degree, Cum Laude, based at the CSIR-National Laser Centre, and obtained her PhD in 2015 in Physics in the field of quantum communication from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2017, she was appointed Lecturer of Physics within the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and since then, she has achieved great success in her career.

Dr Ismail specialises in the development of quantum technologies, particularly in the field of quantum information science. She is an experimentalist developing quantum optical tools for the advancement of free-space, long-range secure quantum communication. Dr Ismail holds a Y1 NRF rating. She is a recipient of three Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Seed Fund Grants and held an NRF Thuthuka Grant (2019-2021). Dr Ismail initiated collaborations with research groups in China, Russia, and India, which led to a successful Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Joint Multilateral Science and Technology Research Grant. Through the BRICS Collaboration, her research focus is on developing a Quantum Satellite and fibre communication (QuSAF) network in South Africa. The QuSaF project aims to establish a quantum network with a joint intercontinental satellite-based quantum key distribution link utilising the Micius satellite that the Chinese collaborators have already developed and launched into the lower earth orbital. The long-term vision for developing satellite quantum key distribution is the realisation of a quantum internet.

Dr Ismail received the 2016 TechWomen Emerging Leader Award and is a 2018 Optica (formerly Optical Society of America (OSA)) Ambassador. She serves on the editorial board of the Scientific Reports Journal and is Optica’s Vice President on the International Commission for Optics, which was established in 1947. She was the 2023 committee Chair of the Theodor W. Hänsch Prize in Quantum Optics and is the Chair of the International Commission for Optics Education Committee for Strategic linkages on the African Continent. She also serves on the selection committee for the Optica Amplifying Scholarship.