In the news

Reinventing the Laser

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 28 September 2021

Congratulations to David Pekker and his team for publishing their paper, “Proposal for a continuous wave laser with linewidth well below the standard quantum limit,” in Nature Communications!

The standard quantum limit on coherence of laser light was first obtained by Schawlow and Townes in 1958. Except for a small modification in 1999, which decreased this limit by a factor of two, the Schawlow-Townes limit has stood as the ultimate theoretical bound on laser . . .

A Quantum Discovery Beyond the Laws of Matter

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 14 September 2021

Vincent Liu and his international team of researchers recently published a paper in Nature reporting the creation of a stable material that attains long-sought-after quantum properties. This superfluid, a material under extreme conditions where the typical laws of matter break down and friction disappears entirely, was created by shining lasers in a honeycomb pattern and coercing atoms to interact with each other in strange ways. 

The team’s experiment required a great deal of . . . 

New Technique Could Enable Next Generation Nanoelectronics

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 31 August 2021

Silicone, it’s time to move aside. The future of electronics is approaching, and it is going to need new classes of advanced materials. One of these classes is complex oxide heterostructures, in which extremely thin films are layered on top of one another to produce exciting properties such as superconductivity and magnetism.

One standout heterostructure is lanthanum aluminate and strontium titanate, or LaAlO3/SrTiO3, which allows researchers to sketch conductive patterns on the interface with an atomic force microscope when layered. However, until now, LAO/STO has been synthesized . . . 

Developing a New Type of Quantum Memory

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 31 August 2021

Jeremy Levy, Hrvoje Petek, and their team recently received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Office of Naval Research’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) to develop a new type of quantum memory for quantum computers. 

Quantum computers can be built using many different approaches, one of which involves using the spin of electrons to create quantum bits. In turn, these quantum bits can be used to create . . . 

Accelerating AI and Machine Learning Using Light

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 4 August 2021

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!

Mostafa Bedewy Receives Frontiers of Materials Award

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 21 July 2021

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). 

Congrats Mostafa!

Nuclear Engineering Projects Awarded $1.6 Million in Research Funding

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 7 July 2021

Congratulations to Heng Ban, Paul Ohodnicki, and Kevin Chen for winning $1.6 million of advanced nuclear energy R&D funding from the U.S. Department of Energy! 

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.

An Atomic Look at Next Generation Batteries

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 16 June 2021

 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 Serves as Guest Editor of Journal of Chemical Physics Special Issue

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 2 June 2021

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.

Publication Selected as Editor's Choice by APS Physics

  • By Jennifer Zheng
  • 4 May 2021

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