Congratulations to Nathan Youngblood and his colleagues, who recently received a $1.2 million 4-year grant from the NSF to develop a new type of computer chip that uses laser light for AI and machine learning computation.
AI and machine learning’s rapid growth in sophistication and large-scale implementation has caused the demand for computing power to increase at a rate where conventional computing paradigms and hardware platforms are struggling to keep up.
The chip, called a “hybrid co-processing unit” or HCU, aims to address this challenge by combining traditional electronics with photonics and using light generated by lasers instead of electricity for data processing. This will greatly accelerate the computing speed and efficiency of AI and machine learning applications, while at the same time reducing energy consumption.
The team will be fabricating thousands of photonic elements and millions of transistors together in a cost-effective and scalable manner as well as building computer models to simulate every aspect of the device. By 2025, they expect to have a working, physical prototype and be poised to manufacture the device in larger quantities and at a scale capable of moving into the marketplace.
Read some of their recent work here!
Dr. Mostafa Bedewy was recently selected for the 2022 Frontiers of Materials Award from the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society.
The award recognizes top-performing early career professionals who are able to organize a Frontiers of Materials symposium on a hot or emerging technical topic at the TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition.
Dr. Bedewy is an outstanding researcher, and his work in the fabrication of graphene and related carbon nanomaterials directly on polymers enables the development of flexible, wearable electronic devices such as implantable biomedical sensors and bendable batteries. He has won several awards including the 2020 Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ Manufacturing and Design (IISE M&D) Division and the 2018 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
Heng Ban’s project, titled “Fragmentation and Thermal Energy Transport of Chromia-doped Fuels Under Transient Conditions,” will use various aspects of engineering-scale modeling and experimental testing to understand thermal energy transport from high burnup accident tolerant fuels. The team hopes to fill a major knowledge gap for modeling and simulating transient fuel performance and safety for future integral testing and fuel licensing.
Paul Ohodnicki’s and Kevin Chen’s project, titled “Fusion of Distributed Fiber Optics, Acoustic NDE, and Physics-Based AI for Spent Fuel Monitoring,” will leverage the fusion between fiber optic distributed acoustic sensing and advanced acoustic nondestructive evaluation techniques with artificial intelligence enhanced classification frameworks to quantitatively characterize the internal state of dry cask storage systems without introducing additional risks of failure.
Venkat Viswanathan and his colleagues recently published a paper in Nature describing their research in the anionic reduction-oxidation mechanism of lithium-rich cathodes. Normal Li-ion batteries work because of cationic redox, where a metal ion changes its oxidation state as lithium is added or removed. However, only one lithium ion can be stored per metal ion. Lithium-rich cathodes on the other hand can store more, and researchers attribute this to the anionic redox mechanism.
The team set out to find conclusive evidence of this by using Compton scattering, a phenomenon where a photon deviates from a trajectory after interacting with a particle such as an electron. They observed how electron beams’ orbits in the anionic redox activity can be imaged and visualized and its character and symmetry determined.
Previous research has not been able to provide a clear image of the quantum mechanical electronic orbitals related to redox reactions because standard experiments could not measure it. However, when the team saw the agreement in redox character between theory and experimental results, they realized that they could image the oxygen states that are responsible for the redox mechanism.
The gathered evidence supports the anionic redox mechanism in a lithium-rich battery material. Furthermore, the study provides a clear image of a lithium-rich battery at the atomic level and suggests pathways for improving and designing next generation cathodes for electric aviation.
Ken Jordan served as a guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Chemical Physics titled “Frontiers of stochastic electronic structure calculations.” Read part of the abstract below.
In recent years there has been a rapid growth in the development and application of new stochastic methods in electronic structure. These methods are quite diverse, from many-body wave function techniques in real space or determinant space to being used to sum perturbative expansions. This growth has been spurred by the more favorable scaling with the number of electrons and often better parallelization over large numbers of central processing unit (CPU) cores or graphical processing units (GPUs) than for high-end non-stochastic wave function based methods. This special issue of the Journal of Chemical Physics includes 33 papers that describe recent developments and applications in this area. As seen from the articles in the issue, stochastic electronic structure methods are applicable to both molecules and solids and can accurately describe systems with strong electron correlation.
The special issue tackles six subtopics: auxiliary-field quantum monte carlo, real-space methods, perturbation theory, quantum chemistry methods, application to finite systems, and application to infinite systems. Read more here.
Wei Xiong’s project will study the tradeoff between strength and ductility of alloy components created by additive manufacturing. His team aims to find a way to overcome the problem that the stronger a material is, the less ductile it becomes, and they will design new alloys that can be additively manufactured. This could help reduce the number of alloy powders needed for 3D printing, save the cost of alloy powder production for various engineering purposes, and provide recipes to recycle and reuse existing metal powders.
Maysam Chamanzar’s research will present a new type of neural probe that uses graphene to change brain signals to electromagnetic waves. This will increase the number of recording channels without increasing the size of the probe since a large probe could cause brain damage. The research could provide insight into treatments for brain disorders like epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Congrats Wei and Maysam!
Congratulations to Hrvoje Petek and his team for their paper “Plasmonically assisted channels of photoemission from metals,” which was recently selected as an Editor’s Choice by APS Physics! Their research focuses on nonlinear photoemission spectra from Ag surfaces and single- and multiplasmon excitations. Check out the abstract here!
A team of researchers led by Jeremy Levy and several PQI members recently published a paper in Nature describing how the Kronig-Penney model is reproduced within a programmable oxide material. Introduced in 1931, this model shaped our understanding of materials that are used to create computers and other technology.
Using an atomic force microscope, lead author Megan Briggeman created an artificial one-dimensional lattice of buckets and discovered that placing electrons in it caused them to interact in unexpected ways. In some sense, they acted as though the charge carriers were fractions of an electron. The observed behavior extends far beyond the simple Kronig-Penney model and appears in the real system, which contains hundreds of electrons.
The research was part of a larger effort to produce new electronic states of matter that may be helpful in developing future technologies such as quantum computers.
Congrats Jeremy, Megan, and team!
Olexandr Isayev, Geoff Hutchison, and their team of researchers received a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research for their Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. Their project aims to gain a better understanding of how organic molecules and polymeric materials degrade under stress. Isayev’s lab plans to develop a computational framework using fast simulations for degradation pathways, reaction networks and artificial intelligence. Hutchison’s lab will use a variety of methods to make massive automated quantum chemical calculations. The results will not only allow future materials to be better designed for stability, but also offer tools that will help chemists and materials scientists quickly predict degradation pathways and products.
Congrats Olexandr and Geoff!