In the news

Batteries for Flying Cars

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 8 May 2020

Venkat Viswanathan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at CMU, describes their latest paper in Nature Materials and the 5-year effort to understand electrodeposition instabilities at solid-solid interfaces, leading to high-performing lithium metal based batteries:

In the fall of 2015, we began exploring the role of mechanical properties in stabilizing lithium electrodeposition at solid-solid interfaces in solid state batteries. Previous results from an elegant linear stability analysis performed by Monroe and Newman suggested that solids with sufficiently large moduli could block dendrite growth due to the stabilizing role of the hydrostatic part of the stress.

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. 

Stay-at-home Physics Labs

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 28 April 2020

In the scramble to bring lab instruction to students hunkered down indoors across the globe, professors with hands-on courses adopted strategies ranging from shipping equipment and tools directly to students to stretching remote learning technologies farther than ever before.

In the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Physics and Astronomy, graduate student instructor Daniel Doucette and associate professor Gurudev Dutt have been taking advantage of virtual lab tools and even shipped devices to students to work on at home.  

 

PQI2020 Poster Session Winners

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 24 April 2020

The PQI2020 poster session was held remotely over a Zoom call with poster presenters and judges and streamed live to Youtube for the PQI community to attend and discuss in the live chat. A huge thank you to all who contributed and took time out of their chaotic lives to be PQ-engaged with us. We had the help of 29 judges for the recorded presentation round, and 6 judges sit in for the 15 finalists. A special thank you to our live judges, Prof. David Waldeck, Prof. Rongchao Jin, Prof. Nathan Youngblood, Prof. Andrew Daley, Prof. Kaushik Dayal, and previous poster award winners, Dacen Waters and Jierui Liang. 

You can watch the full video here, with helpful shortcuts to each poster in the description.

Superconducting Material Holds Promise for Quantum Computing

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 14 April 2020

New research from Carnegie Mellon physicists details the creation of a special kind of superconducting material that could allow for the creation of new and more robust quantum computers.

"The main result is that we created a new state of matter," said Assistant Professor of Physics Ben Hunt, who led the research in collaboration with Professor of Physics Randall Feenstra, Ph.D. candidate Dacen Waters and Felix Lüpke, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

This state of matter, a one-dimensional topological superconductor, has actually been made before, Hunt clarified, but their new study published in the journal Nature Physics proved its first creation in a particular material — tungsten telluride.

Pittsburgh-wide committee hosts Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at CMU

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 31 March 2020

In January, Carnegie Mellon University hosted 173 young physicists for a regional American Physical Society (APS) Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). 

“Science thrives when it is inclusive. For generations, physics has been male-dominated. This must change,” said Physics Department Head Scott Dodelson. “Hosting CUWiP was one of the most important steps that MCS is taking to drive that change.”

Over 67 people were involved in the planning, organization and running of the event, including undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty at CMU, Pitt, Duquesne, and Washington and Jefferson.

Ted Corcovilos receives tenure and promotion

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 18 March 2020

Professor Ted Corcovilos was granted tenure at Duquesne University and promoted to Associate Professor. Congratulations!

Ted's research primarily focuses on studying atoms in two-dimensional optical potentials generated by interfering laser beams. While you are all secluding yourselves at home, try out this game he devised: simulating quantum measurements of qubits!

Peng Liu receives 2020 Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 10 March 2020

The Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award annually recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments of members of the University of Pittsburgh's faculty. Junior Scholar Awardees include faculty members who, by virtue of the exceptional quality of their early contributions, have demonstrated great potential as scholars and have achieved some international standing. 

Professor Liu is an outstanding researcher and has made tremendous contributions to the field of computational organic chemistry and mechanistic investigations of transition metal catalysis. He has received multiple awards, including the NSF CAREER award, NIH MIRA award, and the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry Award for Early Excellence. His research achievements have been highlighted by various professional media outlets, including Chemical and Engineering News, JACS Spotlights, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., and Synfacts.

Congratulations Peng!

New Research Shows Promise of Tunable Two-Dimensional Materials for Light Detection

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 4 March 2020

New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows how two-dimensional materials can be precisely tuned to act as sensitive detectors for a difficult-to-measure form of light.

"Material design sounds like a very complicated topic," said Professor of Physics Di Xiao. "But deep down it's just about how you arrange atoms."

In a new study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Xiao and Carnegie Mellon postdoctoral fellow Yang Gao show how arranging two layers of graphene atoms can allow the detection of circularly polarized light.

Chandralekha Singh receives Provost's Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 26 February 2020

Chandralekha Singh was selected as one of the recipients of the University of Pittsburgh 2020 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring. This honor recognizes the commitment to mentoring and success in working with doctoral students. By providing students the support they need to achieve their goals, Dr. Singh contributed to their individual success, and through them, has made a significant impact on her discipline. The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring includes a $2,500 cash prize and reception honoring the awardees and nominees on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Congratulations Chandralekha!

Pages