Announcements

A 'Quantum Repository' to Make Learning Chemistry Easier

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 19 November 2014

Remember constructing ball-and-stick models of molecules in your high school or college chemistry classes? Well, that might soon be a thing of the past for Pitt students looking to get a three-dimensional understanding of molecular structures.

PQI faculty Geoffrey Hutchison and Daniel Lambrecht recently received a 2014 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences award for their project, "Creating an Open Quantum Chemistry Repository." This effort aims to create an open mobile-ready, web-based database of accurate, quantum calculations of molecules. The "Pitt Quantum Repository" will consist at first of 50,000 to 100,000 molecules and quantum chemical data. The database will grow over time to include more molecules and more computed properties.

Conserving a Valuable Resource: System Will Recover Helium for Physics Lab Use

  • By Workstudy User
  • 17 September 2014

Pitt’s new physics department helium recovery system will put the campus at the forefront of U.S. university efforts to conserve the finite supply of this increasingly expensive laboratory gas.

With U.S. helium reserves being sold off and prices rising, Pitt has used the National Institute of Standards and Technology-funded renovation of mid-campus physics buildings, undertaken over the past five years, as an opportunity to install a new helium recovery system. It should be able to reliquefy at least 90 percent of the gas currently used and allow for experiments that might not otherwise have been affordable, says Patrick Irvin, faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Ken Jordan Featured in the Journal of Physical Chemistry

  • By Workstudy User
  • 11 September 2014

PQI faculty Ken Jordan was featured in the September 4th, 2014 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 

This issue was dedicated to Ken Jordan on the occasion of his 66th birthday. The preface “From Quantum Mechanics to Molecular Mechanics: A Tribute to Kenneth D. Jordan” was written by his friend and fellow scientist Jack Simmons, former graduate student Feng Wang, and his longtime collaborator Mark Johnson. This special issue “The Kenneth D. Jordan Estschrift" includes his autobiography, a list of his colleagues and publications, and his Curriculum Vitae.

Hrvoje Petek Part of $20 Million Grant to Observe Molecules in Action

  • By Workstudy User
  • 28 August 2014

The UC Irvine Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit has received a $20 million renewal award from the National Science Foundation to continue its groundbreaking work in pushing the limits of interrogating chemistry on ultrafast and ultrasmall scales. Ultimately, the goal is capture chemistry in the act on the single-molecule level.

Headed by V. Ara Apkarian of UCI’s Department of Chemistry, CaSTL is one of eight NSF-funded “Centers for Chemical Innovation” that are designed to tackle grand challenges in the field. A team of 12 faculty members from five different universities and nearly 60 researchers have joined CaSTL to build the “Chemiscope” – the chemist’s microscope – designed to visualize chemical transformations on atomic scales and in real time.

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."

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.

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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