Seminar

Steering Photons to Control Light and Heat on the Nanoscale

Speaker(s): 
Ognjen Ilic
Dates: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 12:00pm

Abstract: Nanoscale photonic structures such as metamaterials and metasurfaces are enabling manipulation of light and heat in unprecedented ways. In this talk, I will present our research on shaping and controlling electromagnetic fields associated with thermal and mechanical applications. In the first part of my talk, I will present the work on tailoring high-temperature thermal emission by photonic elements that enable light recycling, relevant for high-efficiency heat-to-electricity energy harvesting. Next, I will show how nano-structured two-dimensional materials can...

Topological Electromagnetic Phases of Matter

Speaker(s): 
Zubin Jacob
Dates: 
Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 4:00pm

Abstract: 

Dirac Matter: Over the last decade the concept of Dirac matter has emerged to the forefront of condensed matter physics. Prominent examples include the physics of the Dirac point in Graphene, Weyl points in topological semi-metals (TaAs) and edge states in topological insulators (Bi2Te3). These phases of matter are a playground for studying effects related to the Dirac equation and geometry of the electron wavefunction. We note, however, that they are defined only with respect to the properties of the electron (eg: bandstructure)....

What is 'Orthodox' Quantum Mechanics?

Speaker(s): 
David Wallace
Dates: 
Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 4:00pm

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...

Fractons: A New Type of Particle

Speaker(s): 
Michael Pretko
Dates: 
Friday, August 14, 2020 - 12:00pm

A fracton is an unusual new type of emergent quasiparticle found in various condensed matter systems.  Fractons are characterized by a set of mobility restrictions, which force isolated fractons to be strictly immobile, while certain bound states of fractons remain free to move.  This behavior leads to a variety of unusual phenomenology, such as non-ergodic and gravitational behavior, and may lead to advances in quantum memory storage.  In this talk, I will give a broad overview of the field of fractons, including both introductory material and recent advances.  I will describe the basics...

Critical pattern formation at the Mott metal-insulator transition

Speaker(s): 
Erica Carlson
Dates: 
Monday, November 2, 2020 - 4:00pm

Joint Pitt/CMU Colloquium

Critical pattern formation at the Mott metal-insulator transition

Abstract:

I discuss the critical pattern formation of metallic and insulating nanoscale domains observed in NdNiO3 and VO2, via scanning near-field optical microscopy. The electronic phase transitions of these materials hold promise for novel ways to encode and process information, of interest for developing memristors and neuromorphic devices. Using theoretical tools from fractal mathematics and disordered statistical mechanics, we use the rich spatial information of this...

Fractionalized excitations in the quantum Hall effect

Speaker(s): 
Roger Mong
Dates: 
Monday, October 5, 2020 - 4:00pm

Joint Pitt/CMU Colloquium

Fractionalized excitations in the quantum Hall effect

 

Abstract:

One of the basic tenets of Condensed matter Physics is the classification of matter into phases exhibiting certain universal behaviour.  Examples of phases of matter include crystalline solid, superconductor, and ferromagnet.  A new class of materials was discovered in the recent decades, called topological phases, which challenges the conventional paradigms regarding phases of matter.  Contrast to the conventional phases, topological phases possess...

What does it Take to Build a Quantum Computer

Speaker(s): 
Chris Lirakis
Dates: 
Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 4:00pm

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...

Antisymmetry: Fundamentals and Applications

Speaker(s): 
Venkat Gopalan
Dates: 
Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 4:00pm

Symmetry is fundamental to understanding our physical world.  An antisymmetry operation switches between two different states of a trait, such as two time-states, position-states, charge-states, spin-states, chemical-species etc.   This talk will cover the fundamental concept of antisymmetry, with brief mentions of two well-established antisymmetries, namely spatial inversion in point groups and time reversal. Then it will introduce two new ones, namely, distortion reversal and wedge reversion.  The distinction between classical and quantum mechanical descriptions of time reversal will be...

Rings and tunnel junctions: Quantum mechanics on a circle

Speaker(s): 
Arthur Davidson
Dates: 
Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 4:00pm

We show by standard quantum principles that two circuits, a small tunnel junction and a small metal loop with an electron, are related by a gauge transformation. We show further that this same transform prevents momentum eigen functions from having gauge invariant de Broglie wave lengths around a ring. Thus persistent current on a metal ring and the Coulomb blockade on a small tunnel junction seem to be the same dynamical theory based on discontinuous Bloch waves on the perimeter of a circle. This is historically an area of simple quantum circuits where the principle of gauge invariance...

Operator Mechanics: A new form of quantum mechanics without waves or matrices

Speaker(s): 
James Freericks
Dates: 
Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 4:00pm

Quantum mechanics was created with the matrix mechanics of Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan. Schroedinger's wave mechanics shortly followed and allowed for simpler and more powerful calculations. Both Pauli and Dirac introduced a formulation of quantum mechanics based on operators and commutation relations, but it was never fully developed in the 1920's. Instead, Schroedinger formulated the operator approach with his factorization method, which later was adopted by the high-energy community as supersymmetric quantum mechanics.  In this talk, I will explain how one can formulate nearly all of...

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