Geoff Hutchison wins 2018 Tina and David Bellet Excellence Award

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 7 February 2018

Geoff Hutchison is the 2018 Tina and David Bellet Excellence Awardee. The award recognizes his effectiveness and his innovations in teaching. Among many innovations Hutchinson developed Avagadro molecular editor; with that software, he designed projects hat allow Physical Chemistry students to perform quantum mechanical calculations to visualize results/concepts. 

Two and three-dimensional (2D/3D) hybrid materials

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 19 January 2018

In the recently published paper in Journal of Nanoscale, Randall M. Feenstra and their colleagues have demonstrated the importance of 2D layer thickness and transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) in the transport properties of the hybrid structure, where monolayer TMDs exhibit direct tunneling through the layer, while transport in few layer TMDs on GaN is dominated by p–n diode behavior and varies with the 2D/3D hybrid structure. They have shown the scalable synthesis of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and tungsten diselenide (WSe2) via metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) on gallium nitride (GaN), and elucidated the structure, chemistry, and vertical transport properties of the 2D/3D hybrid.

Direct conversion of unsubstituted furan into benzene

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 16 January 2018

In the recently published paper in Journal of ACS Catalysis, Giannis Mpourmpakis and their colleagues have discussed the direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass Derived Furan and Ethanol to Ethylbenzene. They have reported a synthetic strategy to convert biomass-derived unsubstituted furan to aromatics at high selectivity, especially to ethylbenzene via alkylation/Diels-Alder cycloaddition using ethanol, while greatly reducing the formation of the main side product, benzofuran, over zeolite catalysts.

Frolov and Team Featured on Pitt Website

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 12 January 2018

PQI Members Sergey Frolov, David Pekker, Noa Marom, Michael Hatridge, Benjamin Hunt, and Hrvoje Petek featured on Pitt Website for their accomplisment on landing $4.8M award from National Science Foundation (NSF) for International Research and Education (PIRE) program.Sergey Frolov will be the Director of new PIRE.  Hrvoje Petek, Michael Hatridge and David Pekker are other PQI co-PIs for this project. The duration of the program is 5 years.

Four-dimensional physics in two dimensions

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 5 January 2018

Kevin Chen and team have demonstrated that the behavior of particles of light can be made to match predictions about the four-dimensional version of the "quantum Hall effect"—a phenomenon that has been at the root of three Nobel Prizes in physics—in a two-dimensional array of "waveguides."

“For the first time, physicists have built a two-dimensional experimental system that allows them to study the physical properties of materials that were theorized to exist only in four-dimensional space"

Understanding of the superior stability of Silicon- and oxygen-containing hydrogenated amorphous carbon in harsh environments

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 3 January 2018

Recently, Tevis D. B. Jacobs and colleagues have shown how silicon- and oxygen-containing hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H:Si:O) coating enhance the thermal stability in vacuum, but tremendously increases the thermo-oxidative stability and the resistance to degradation upon exposure to the harsh conditions of low Earth orbit (LEO). These findings provide a novel physically-based understanding of the superior stability of a-C:H:Si:O in harsh environments compared to a-C:H.

Electron Transfer without Overcoming a Barrier

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 14 February 2018

In the recently accepted paper in Physical Review Letter, Hrvoje Petek and his colleagues investigate the coherent electron transfer from an interface state that forms upon chemisorption of Ag nanoclusters onto graphite to a σ symmetry interlayer band of graphite. Interfacial charge transfer is a fundamental process in heterogeneous and plasmonically enhanced catalysis. The charge transfer, however, is thought to be restrained by an interfacial potential barrier, such as a Schottky barrier at a metal-semiconductor interface. With optical excitation, the interfacial charge transfer can also be efficiently completed by coherent dipole coupling between the donor and acceptor bands. In this study Petek and his colleagues advance the time-resolved multidimensional multiphoton photoemission spectroscopy technique to not only pump the donor band and probe the acceptor band, but also directly image the coherent polarization dynamics between them. They discover a direct resonant electron transfer channel where two-photon absorption couples a donor interface state formed by electron delocalizing from Ag clusters to graphite and the acceptor state, which is the unoccupied interlayer band of graphite. Such electron transfer can be driven instantaneously by two photon absorption and is completed within the electron-hole dephasing time of ~10 fs.

Susan Fullerton and colleagues are one of five winners of international circular materials challenge

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 24 January 2018

Each year more than eight million tons of plastics pollute the ocean, forming mammoth, so-called “garbage patches” via strong currents. Even with new collection methods, only 0.5 percent out of that volume is currently removed from the seas. One solution to this growing crisis is to prevent plastic from becoming waste, to begin with – and Susan Fullerton and colleagues are one of five international teams awarded for their novel solutions to this problem. The group was one of two winners in Category 1: “Make unrecyclable packaging recyclable,” and proposes using nano-engineering to create a recyclable material that can replace complex multi-layered packaging – mimicking the way nature uses just a few molecular building blocks to create a huge variety of materials.

Segregation-induced ordered superstructures

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 24 January 2018

Michael Widom and his colleagues showed what happens at the grain boundaries of one particular alloy of the metals nickel and bismuth that makes it brittle in their paper published in Science. Using advanced electron microscopes, Widom’s collaborators at Lehigh University scrutinized these microscopic grain boundaries at an atomic level. In a "very heroic experimental program" they discovered that when grains met, the bismuth and nickel atoms realigned into lattices to form layered superstructures at the grain boundaries. These superstructures had previously been thought to exist only rarely in some alloys. Finding it at many different boundaries led the team to conclude that these superstructures are probably much more common than many people had thought. 

Experts Developed a Road-map for Quantum Computation at NASA's Workshop on Quantum Computing

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 17 January 2018

What are the latest developments in quantum information science and computation?  

What are the current challenges in algorithms, hardware, and technology transition to engineering applications?

NASA brought word leading scientist and industry leaders come together at Quantum Computing workshop to answer these questions and discuss future of the Quantum Computers.