News


First Detection of a Fundamental Particle of Light-Matter Interaction in Metals: the Exciton

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 1 June 2014

PQI faculty Hrvoje Petek and Sean Garrett-Roe have become the first to detect a fundamental particle of light-matter interaction in metals, the exciton. The team has published its work in the June 2014 online issue of Nature Physics.

Mankind has used reflection of light from a metal mirror on a daily basis for millennia, but the quantum mechanical magic behind this familiar phenomenon is only now being uncovered.


Sergey Frolov Lands ONR Grant to Study Majorana Fermions

  • By Workstudy User
  • 31 May 2014

PQI faculty Sergey Frolov has received a $3 million Office of Naval Research Basic Research Challenge grant to explore ways of transforming quantum computing through the use of an unusual particle. Frolov will be the primary investigator for the study on the Majorana fermion, a long-posited but elusive elementary particle that Frolov and colleagues discovered in 2012.

"First, this is of great fundamental interest to science," Frolov says. "We are greatly expanding the horizons of our knowledge, and we may be adding a new, third class of fundamental particles to fermions and bosons."


Quantum Engineering Research Paper on “Transparent Electrodes” One of Top 20 Downloads from the Journal Nano Letters

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 May 2014

A journal article by PQI researchers investigating the properties of copper nanomeshes to form transparent electrodes was one of the Top 20 articles downloaded from the journal Nano Letters web site in April 2014. 

The team is led by principle investigator and PQI faculty Paul W. Leu, PhD, and Co-PIs include PQI faculty Jung-Kun Lee, PhD, and research assistants Bo Ding, Tongchuan Gao, and Baomin Wang. The article, "Uniform and Ordered Copper Nanomeshes by Microsphere Lithography for Transparent Electrodes," was published in Nano Letters.


Sara Majetich Awarded Seed Grant from CMU's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 12 February 2014

Sara Majetich has received a seed grant from CMU's Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation to explore ways to make small powerful permanent magnets without the use of rare earth or noble metals. This could be a breakthrough development because the rare earth elements used in the strongest of today's permanent magnets are becoming increasingly scarce and costly.  The institute, made possible by a lead gift from CMU alumni Sherman Scott (E'66), president and founder of Delmar systems, and his wife, university trustee Joyce Bowie Scott (A'65), is focused on improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources.  A key mission of the Scott Institute, established in September 2012, is to stimulate new research initiatives and connections across the campus.


Patrick D. Gallagher Named Chancellor-Elect of Pitt

  • By Workstudy User
  • 11 February 2014

Patrick Gallagher, Acting Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Commerce and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been named the next Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. Gallagher, who received his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, will succeed Mark A. Nordenberg, who served as Chancellor for the last 19 years.

For more details, read the Pitt press release, and read here about the impact Gallagher had as Director of NIST.


Jeremy Levy Co-Edits October 2013 Issue of MRS Bulletin Dedicated to Quantum Computing

  • By Workstudy User
  • 2 December 2013

Materials Issues for Quantum Computation: The new field of quantum computing uses qubits (quantum bits) in place of classical bits to carry out certain types of computation. Physical systems that act as qubits encompass a wide range of technologies, from ions, to local defect states in crystals, and on to microelectronic devices addressable with wire interconnects. Materials issues arise in all of these, and this issue of MRS Bulletin describes how materials challenges and opportunities arise and have been used to make qubit-based quantum circuits using very different materials systems.


Semiconductor Nanocrosses Lay Foundations for Topological Quantum Bits

  • By Workstudy User
  • 17 October 2013

PQI faculty Sergey Frolov co-authors a paper in Nature Nanotechnology on the growth and characterization of high quality semiconductor nanocross structures. These structures are the building blocks for topological quantum bits based on recently discovered Majorana fermions.

These tests should make clear whether or not Majorana’s (and the nanowires that house them) are a suitable base for the so-called topological quantum computer.


Paul Leu and Kevin Chen Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Improved Solar Cell Manufacturing

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 14 August 2013

PQI faculty Paul W. Leu and Kevin P. Chen were awarded a $107,498 Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER grant) to develop a new process for the scalable laser manufacturing of more efficient solar cells. 

"We're exploring new structures, called photonic crystals, that are at the wavelength scale or smaller to better trap light within the absorbing region of the solar cell," Dr. Leu explains.

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