In the news

Outlook on Quantum Materials R&D

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 14 October 2020

The Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) Summit, hosted by the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Lab, took place on October 7-8th and connected industry, governmental, and academic experts to discuss six broad themes in panel sessions. PQI students attended the online event and prepared summaries of each panel.

The Department of Energy Investments & Capabilities in Quantum Materials R&D panel discussed the foundational quantum information science (QIS) in discovering new quantum materials and molecular systems by controlling their unique properties such that they can be incorporated into qubits for quantum sensing, computing, and communication.

Some of the major challenges in quantum material research are characterizing the functionality of quantum devices at a fundamental level, innovative theory and computational tools, world-leading experimental capabilities, and most importantly, diverse research teams. The panel discussion was moderated by Linda Horton, (Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy Sciences, Department of Energy, Office of Science).

Where is Quantum Networking and Communication Heading?

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 14 October 2020

The Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) Summit, hosted by the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Lab, took place on October 7-8th and connected industry, governmental, and academic experts to discuss six broad themes in panel sessions. PQI students attended the online event and prepared summaries of each panel. 

The Quantum Networking and Communication panel discussion was moderated by Prof. David Awschalom from the University of Chicago, who is also the quantum group leader in Argonne National Laboratory. This panel mainly discussed recent developments and challenges in the field, driving areas of interests, the near- and long-term focus of the industry, and potential impact in society. 

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Partner With USRA and Amazon to Teach Quantum Computing Programming Foundations

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 7 October 2020

Carnegie Mellon and the Tepper School of Business have long been leaders in transformational education, where researchers successfully challenge the status quo to create new technologies and processes that solidify our reputation as innovative thinkers and doers.

Sridhar R. Tayur, Ford Distinguished Research Chair and University Professor of Operations Management, believes that quantum computing will be one of the next consequential innovations to put the university’s name in the history books.


Pitt Engineering Secures NSF Funding

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 29 September 2020

Three projects led by PQI professors in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, James McKone, Feng Xiong, and Nathan Youngblood, recently received funding from the National Science Foundation. Additionally, Ken Jordan in the Pitt Department of Chemistry is Co-PI on an NSF-funded project led by Lei Li to use computational methods to understand the mechanisms of wetting transparency of graphene on liquid substrates and demonstrate the real-time control of surface wettability


Detecting Acoustic Blackbody Radiation

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 22 September 2020

As objects heat up, they not only glow but also emit acoustic energy. This “acoustic blackbody radiation” may be as ubiquitous as its more famous electromagnetic cousin but is typically faint and difficult to characterize. Now, a pair of researchers, Thomas Purdy and Robinjeet Singh, have used a nanomechanical resonator to detect acoustic blackbody radiation from a remote source [1]. They say their technique—the acoustic analog of remote infrared thermometry—could lead to improvements in applications ranging from metrology to quantum information.

Gurudev Dutt Wins Award in Million Dollar International Quantum U Tech Accelerator

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 7 September 2020

The Innovare Advancement Center, a partnership between the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI), New York State, and others, hosted a unique quantum-focused virtual pitch competition, the “Million Dollar International Quantum U Tech Accelerator,” on September 1-3 to launch their new open innovation campus in Rome, NY.

The goal of the competition was to encourage university researchers that pursue high impact projects in quantum timing, sensing, information processing/computing, and communications/networking to bring a new quantum phenomenon into the military while offering about $1,000,000 to the finalists.

Even with nearly 250 teams from 22 countries submitting proposals to take part in the competition, two PQI faculty, Dr. Tom Purdy and Dr. Gurudev Dutt, were among the top 36 selected to take part in the live pitch event, each giving a 10-minute presentation with Q&A (watch presentations from Tom and Gurudev). Ultimately, 18 finalists were selected for the $1M+ in basic research funds and Gurudev won in the topic of quantum sensing.

Microwaving New Materials

  • By Ke Xu
  • 24 August 2020

Reeja Jayan and her student Nathan Nakamura has made a breakthrough in our understanding of how microwaves affect materials chemistry. Unlike prior studies, which suffered from the inability to monitor structural changes while the microwaves were applied, Jayan developed novel tools (a custom-designed microwave reactor enabling in-situ synchrotron x-ray scattering) for studying these dynamic, field-driven changes in local atomic structure as they happen. By revealing the dynamics of how microwaves affect specific chemical bonds during the synthesis, Jayan is laying the groundwork for tailor-made ceramic materials with new electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties. Building on this concept, she is investigating how to use microwaves to engineer new materials.

The results of Jayan’s research were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry AThe paper was recognized as part of the 2020 Emerging Investigators Issue of the journal.

Computational Quantum Chemical Explorations

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 14 August 2020

Developing catalysts for sustainable fuel and chemical production requires a kind of Goldilocks Effect – some catalysts are too ineffective while others are too uneconomical. Catalyst testing also takes a lot of time and resources. New breakthroughs in computational quantum chemistry, however, hold promise for discovering catalysts that are “just right” and thousands of times faster than standard approaches.

University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor John A. Keith and his lab group at the Swanson School of Engineering are using new quantum chemistry computing procedures to categorize hypothetical electrocatalysts that are “too slow” or “too expensive”, far more thoroughly and quickly than was considered possible a few years ago. 

The Keith Group’s research compilation, “Computational Quantum Chemical Explorations of Chemical/Material Space for Efficient Electrocatalysts” was featured this month in Interface, a quarterly magazine of The Electrochemical Society.

NSF Funds Wissam Saidi for Computational Materials Research

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 5 August 2020

Dr. Wissam Saidi, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, was selected to receive $600,000 of NSF funding over 3 years. The Saidi group develops and uses multiscale simulation tools, including force-field, density-functional theory, quantum Monte Carlo and quantum chemistry methods, to understand, predict, and design novel materials for applications in energy conversion and storage, surfaces and interfaces, spectroscopy, and nanoparticles.

The goal of the proposal, "DeepPDB: An open-source active-learning framework to enable high-fidelity atomistic simulations in unexplored material space", will be to offer an open-source toolkit with the ability to automatically generate estimates of force-fields parameters using advanced empirical-based computational tools.

David Waldeck Named a 2020 ACS Fellow

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 3 August 2020

David Waldeck, Professor in Chemistry at Pitt, was selected as one of the 2020 American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellows. The ACS Fellows program began in 2009 as a way to recognize ACS members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and ACS. 

With regard to his science and profession, Dave is recognized for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of electron and spin transfer in molecules and their assemblies; and the positive impact of his administrative leadership and mentorship of junior colleagues.