We use ultrashort laser pulses to perform experiments that test the very foundations of quantum physics and pave the way to emerging quantum photonic technologies. We are world leaders in the generation of exotic quantum light states and in their arbitrary manipulation via ultrafast parametric down-conversion in nonlinear crystals. Tailor-made non-classical light states are obtained by the experimental realization of basic quantum primitives, such as the addition and subtraction of single photons. Sequences and superpositions of such operations enable the production of arbitrary entanglement and the implementation of purely-quantum technologies, like high-fidelity noiseless amplification. Besides allowing us to directly control light at the single photon level, short and intense laser pulses are also used to develop novel diamond-based quantum light sources and detectors.