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. 

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.

PQI Seminar: Dr. Mario Hofmann, Dr. Ya-Ping Hsieh

Dr. Mario Hofmann and Dr. Ya-Ping Hsieh from the National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica gave a talk titled "Why and How to Integrate 2D Materials in Future Electronics" in the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute Fall Seminar series on Nov. 17th, 2020.

Abstract: 2D materials are atomically thin nanostructures that are considered enabling elements in future electronics due to their unique geometry and exciting physical properties. To realize such applications, however, challenges in materials quality and production have to be addressed. In this talk we will first introduce a novel growth method that can enhance the scale, reliability, and controllability of 2D materials synthesis. Through control of the gas phase kinetics of the chemical vapor deposition process, efficient 2D materials growth could be achieved in atomically confined conditions. This advance permits the synthesis of 2D materials, such as graphene and TMDCs, at unprecedented scale and at crystalline qualities that rival exfoliated materials. Moreover, synthesis in the van-der-Waals gap of a host 2D material is demonstrated to facilitate a novel 2D crystallization process that yields novel transition-metal monochalcogenides with unexpected thermodynamic properties and finely adjustable thickness. Finally, the atomic length scales in confined growth enable controllable multi-precursor synthesis of diluted magnetic semiconductor 2D materials. The high quality of thus grown materials reveal novel interfacial ordering effects of 2D materials that are fundamentally different from bulk and present both challenges and opportunities towards their integration in electronics. Organization of ionic impurities on high quality graphene was shown to introduce a novel scattering process, that modulates graphene’s mobility by six times and is independent of charge concentration, necessitating improvements in materials’ characterization and handling. On the other hand, ordering effects at 2D materials interfaces can provide routes towards enhanced fabrication and performance of electronic devices. Interaction of graphene surfaces with gaseous adsorbates was shown to stabilize graphene in chemical reactions, permitting atomic-precision lithography approaches for large-scale semiconductor fabrication. Finally, assembly of monolayer water films on graphene under nanomechanical confinement was shown to produce a novel ferroelectric ice phase that can be exploited in mechanical memristive devices.

Quantum2020 Poster Session Winners

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 13 November 2020

The Quantum2020 Spooky Action at a Distance poster session was held remotely over multiple Zoom sessions on October 29th, 2020. We had a team of 20 judges coming from various departments at Pitt, CMU, and Duquesne comprising both faculty members, postdocs and previous poster award winners, who evaluated the poster presentations of 44 participants hailing from physics, engineering, chemistry, and other disciplines. 

The full video playlist is linked here, and the descriptions of each video contain quicklinks to the beginning of each presentation. Thank you to everyone who participated!

The six presenters that received the highest overall scores are: 

PQI Seminar: Dr. David Wallace

Dr. Dave Wallace from the University of Pittsburgh gave a talk titled "What is 'Orthodox' Quantum Mechanics?" in the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute Fall Seminar series on Nov. 12th, 2020.

Abstract: What is called "orthodox'' quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions --- the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link --- that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements (all of which are standard in contemporary physics) and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are maximally indefinite pretty much always. I present an alternative way of conceptualizing quantum mechanics that does a better job of representing quantum mechanics as it is actually used, and in particular that eliminates use of either the projection postulate or the eigenvalue-eigenvector link, and I reformulate the quantum measurement problem within this new presentation of orthodoxy.

PQI Seminar: Dr. Chris Lirakis

Dr. Chris Lirakis from IBM-Q gave a talk titled "What does it Take to Build a Quantum Computer" in the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute Fall Seminar series on Oct. 1st, 2020.

Abstract: IBM has been working on realizing a quantum computer since the idea first surfaced in 1982. Early instantiations were photon-based and proved that indeed bit like information could be stored in a quantum state. Since then many different modalities have sprung up, Trapped Ions and Superconducting qubits being the most popular. The IBM systems are on the path to error correction. However, we still have a long way to go. The path to success will be paved by wide scale acceptance and training in these using this new computational paradigm. All manner of expertise will be important on the road to success. Beyond the need for experts in quantum computation, the nation will need experts in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and other disciplines. During this talk I will show how IBM is using superconducting technology as quantum bits (qubits) and all of the ancillary technology along with notions of the types of problems we wish to solve. The goal is to show how each of this disciplines can help on the path to large scale system.

PQI Profiles: Hideo Mabuchi

Professor Hideo Mabuchi from Stanford University talks about joining the Caltech faculty straight out of graduate school, coherent Ising machines, and learning to take oneself seriously.

Hideo Mabuchi received an AB in Physics from Princeton and a PhD in Physics from Caltech.  He served as Chair of the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford from 2010-2016.  His early scientific research was focused on understanding open quantum systems, quantum measurement, and the quantum-to-classical transition.  In recent years his research group has turned towards fundamental issues of quantum engineering, such as quantum nonlinear dynamics, quantum feedback control and quantum model reduction.  Along the way his group has also worked substantially on single-molecule biophysics, quantum information science, and quantum materials.  In parallel with directing his group's sponsored research, Hideo has developed a deep personal interest in exploring the interfaces of modern science with traditional craft, aesthetic philosophy and new materialism.  He has been experimenting with novel teaching initiatives to help resurrect the ideals of liberal education in the modern university.

How to Dress a Metal

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 6 May 2020

Research describing how an optical field can modify the electronic properties of a solid was recently published in Nature Communications titled "Coherent multidimensional photoelectron spectroscopy of ultrafast quasiparticle dressing by light", coauthored by Dr. Marcel Reutzel, Hrvoje Petek, and Petek's students Andi Li and Zehua Wang.

Applying intense ultrafast light pulses, which provide a time-periodic electronic potential acting together with the lattice ions, defines the forces experienced by electrons in solids, such as metals and semiconductors, Petek and his coworkers demonstrated that an optical field can transiently, on the 10-14 second time scale, modify (dress) the electronic bands in a metal, potentially changing them from an electron to a hole condition.