News


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.


Sergey Frolov and Vincent Liu Receive Kaufman Foundation Inaugural Award

  • By Workstudy User
  • 25 July 2013

The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, today announced its first series of grants – amounting to almost $1.6 million – to support cutting-edge scientific research at institutions across the State of Pennsylvania.

A New Initiative grant was awarded to Sergey M. Frolov and W. Vincent Liu, who receive $242,310 over two years ($121,155 per year) for research on “Topological Quantum Wire Emulators.”


Massive Dirac Fermions and Hofstadter Butterfly in a van der Waals Heterostructure

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 21 June 2013

The remarkable transport properties of graphene, such as the high electron mobility, make it a promising material for electronics. However, unlike semiconductors such as silicon, graphene's electronic structure lacks a band gap, and a transistor made out of graphene would not have an “off” state. Ben Hunt and his colleagues modulated the electronic properties of graphene by building a heterostructure consisting of a graphene flake resting on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), which has the same honeycomb structure as graphene, but consists of alternating boron and nitrogen atoms instead of carbons. The natural mismatch between the graphene and hBN lattices led to a moire pattern with a large wavelength, causing the opening of a band gap, the formation of an elusive fractional quantum Hall state, and, at high magnetic fields, a fractal phenomenon in the electronic structure called the Hofstadter butterfly.


Quantum-Engineered Nanoscale Alloys So Bright They Could Have Potential Medical Applications

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 14 May 2013

Alloys like bronze and steel have been transformational for centuries, yielding top-of-the-line machines necessary for industry. As scientists move toward nanotechnology, however, the focus has shifted toward creating alloys at the nanometer scale—producing materials with properties unlike their predecessors.

Now, researchers led by PQI faculty Jill Millstone demonstrate that nanometer-scale alloys possess the ability to emit light so bright they could have potential applications in medicine. The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Connecting the (Quantum) Dots: Spin Technique Moves Researchers Closer to Creating First Viable High-Speed Quantum Computer

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 26 February 2013

Recent research offers a new spin on using nanoscale semiconductor structures to build faster computers and electronics. Literally.

Researchers at PQI and Delft University of Technology reveal in the Nature Nanotechnology a new method that better preserves the units necessary to power lightning-fast electronics, known as qubits (pronounced CUE-bits). Hole spins, rather than electron spins, can keep quantum bits in the same physical state up to 10 times longer than before, the report finds.

 


Sergey Frolov's Research Article Named Best Article of the Year by Science

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 24 February 2013

A paper in the prestigious journal Science coauthored by PQI faculty Sergey Frolov has garnered him and his colleagues the 2012 Newcomb Cleveland Prize, an annual honor awarded to the author or authors of the best research article or report appearing in Science, which is published weekly by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The prize carries with it a cash award of $25,000.


Theoretical Chemistry Research Looks to Reduce Side Effects of Medications for Depression, Addiction, Disease

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 14 February 2013

A research team including PQI faculty Dr. Jeffry D. Madura is attempting to unravel the regulation of dopamine, which leads to happiness. By mapping how these critical neurotransmitters are controlled, Madura and colleagues are trying to better understand the function and structure of the proteins that modulate the receptor/transporter processes of dopamine and serotonin as well as amphetamines and cocaine. The group already has identified a compound as a potential new class of serotonin inhibitors, which would work with the proteins that transport the hormone.

Their initial findings were reported in the Biophysical Journal, with their detailed analysis expected to be published soon.


Kevin Chen Awarded DoD Grant to Build Laser Shooter to Detect Foreign Substances

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 27 September 2012

NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity fired its first laser beam in August, blasting a space rock at more than one million watts per shot to determine whether the red planet could be habitable. The method, called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), is used to detect not only the composition of space-related soils but also an array of foreign materials. Now, with the help of a $1.12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, PQI faculty Kevin Chen will build upon the LIBS technique and related instruments to dramatically improve the detection sensitivity of the technology for substances of interest to Homeland Security.


Measuring Many-Body Entanglement

  • By Workstudy User
  • 4 September 2012

PQI faculty Andrew Daley and his colleagues have proposed a scheme for the measurement of entanglement in a system of cold atoms in an optical lattice. Entanglement is an important theoretical concept, but was previously thought to be difficult to measure in microscopic many-particle systems. They tackle the problem by asking how one might track the changes in entanglement in a nonequilibrium many-body system.

Their proposal involves an optical lattice created by lasers and filled with bosons: identical copies of a boson chain stored in the lattice are coupled as a potential barrier between them is reduced. After tunneling has occurred, a measurement of how the lattice wells are populated would give the entanglement entropy.

Pages