Spring 2018

In Pursuit of an Immortal Cathode: Electrical Energy Storage using MnO2 Nanowires that Never Die

Reginald Penner
Friday, March 16, 2018 - 9:30am to 10:30am

Rechargeable lithium ion (Li+) batteries lose their ability to store charge over time.  Whether they power your phone, your laptop, or your automobile, after 500-1000 recharge cycles they lose 20-40% of their capacity and must be replaced. Sony introduced the first commercial  Li+ battery in 1990, but 27 years later our understanding of WHY they fail is still in its infancy.  Li+ batteries have four parts:  An anode (usually graphite), a cathode (usually a metal oxide), a separator membrane that is located between them, and a salt solution containing Li+.  In our research, we have focused attention on one cathode material called ∂-MnO2.   Our goals have been to increase the amount of energy we can store, to increase the rate at which we can deliver this energy, and to extend the lifetime of the cathode.  Now, you might think that the worst way to make a battery cathode last longer would be to make it smaller!  But we have discovered a process for preparing ∂-MnOnanowires  - just 60 – 600 nm in diameter and up to a centimeter in length – that never fail, and rarely lose any energy storage capacity, across 100,000 charge/recharge cycles.   In this talk, I’ll discuss these unusual nanomaterials and what they may mean for the future of electrical energy storage.

Mermin in Bananaworld: Bub on Quantum Mechanics

Michel Janssen
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

 In the 1980s, David Mermin derived a simple example of a Bell inequality and showed that it is violated in measurements on entangled quantum systems. In this talk, I reanalyze Mermin’s example, using correlation arrays, the workhorse in Jeffrey Bub’s Bananaworld (2016). For the class of all non-signaling correlations conceivable in the kind of experiment considered by Mermin, I derive both the Bell inequality, a necessary condition for such correlations to be allowed classically, and the Tsirelson bound, a necessary condition for them to be allowed quantum-mechanically. I show that the Tsirelson bound for these experiments follows directly from the geometry going into their quantum-mechanical analysis. I use this example to promote Bubism (not to be confused with QBism though both are information-theoretic approaches to the foundations of quantum mechanics). I do so by comparing the rules for probabilities in quantum mechanics, illustrated by my Bubist reanalysis of Mermin’s example, to the rules for spatio-temporal behavior in special relativity.

How will online learning change the future of STEM courses?

Zhongzhou Chen
Monday, March 12, 2018 - 4:30pm

The concept of “courses ” has not changed much over centuries. However, online learning technology is quickly starting to challenge our understanding of what it means by a “course”. The abundance of online learning resources challenges the role of courses being the disseminators of knowledge, while the high registration numbers and low finishing numbers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) challenges not only the necessity to “pass” a course, but also the optimum length and scope of a course. Given the fact that more than 70% of today’s undergraduate students are non-traditional in one way or another, it might be a good time to think about how online learning technology might help to evolve the structure of courses to accommodate an increasingly diverse student population. In this workshop, I will initiate the discussion of “what might a future STEM course look like”, by introducing three relatively old ideas: mastery-based learning, flipped or blended classroom , and modularized instructional design. I will talk about how those ideas, when combined with the latest online learning technologies, might re-shape how students take a course, how teachers teach a course, and how instructors create a course , especially for STEM disciplines. We will also brainstorm about what STEM instructors can do to embrace the possible changes ahead.

The Science for Failed Public Policy: Why Congress Doesn’t Fund Research

Milan Yager
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Introduction: In the halls of Congress there is widespread agreement about the role of R&D in the success of the America’s most innovative corporations. However, too often lawmakers view government models of discovery, from NASA to public university research labs, as obsolete and costly superstructures in today’s .com marketplace. What happened to the case for public exploration and discovery and why shouldn’t the private sector be trusted to find the cure for Grandma’s dementia or Johnny’s brain tumor? Long-time Washington political insider, former lobbyist, Administration appointee, and AIMBE’s Executive Director, Milan Yager, will reveal the hidden truth about why Congress doesn’t fund needed biomedical research.

Results and Discussion: This presentation will highlight innovations and achievements made possible from past federal investments in basic research; such as the internet, wireless communications, even mapping the human genome. Today, Congress seems less interested in past accomplishments as they assume new priorities to balance the budget, reduce government, and free the private sector to assume long-standing government responsibilities for innovation and discovery. How did Congress make spending decisions to permit federal R&D spending to be flat for over a decade? Learn about why Congress is no long accountable for reduce investments in basic research. Discover three secrets to making a winning case for federal funding for medical and biological research. Learn practical steps to successfully getting your point across to a Member of Congress. Find out how to brand your research as the Sputnik in the race to cure cancer, manage chronic disease, or Type I diabetes.

Conclusions: Arming yourself with the strategies for the political warfare in the case for innovation is more than just changing public policy; it can provide the key to changing the future landscape of new biomedical materials, products or procedures. Attendees will get insight into America’s next biomedical “moonshot” initiative.

Chiral nanocluster with open shell electronic structure and helical face-centered cubic framework

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 2 March 2018

Owing to high surface to volume ratios and chemical potential, nanoparticles possess unique optical, electrical, and thermal properties, which constitute the basis of novel applications in sensing, catalysis, nanoelectronics, bio-tagging etc. Despite the great advances in the synthesis, the total structure determination of nanoclusters still remains to be a major challenge. Recently Hyung J. Kim and their colleagues have reported the synthesis and crystal structure of a nanocluster composed of 23 silver atoms capped by 8 phosphine and 18 phenylethanethiolate ligands in the journal of Nature Communications.

Molecular Clusters: Building Blocks for Nanoelectronics and Material Design

Xavier Roy
Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

The programmed assembly of nanoscale building blocks offers exciting new avenues to creating electronic devices and materials in which structure and functions can be chemically designed and tuned. In this context, the synthesis of inorganic molecular clusters with atomically-defined structures, compositions and surface chemistry provides a rich family of functional building elements. This presentation will describe our efforts to assemble such “designer atoms” into a variety of hierarchical structures and devices, and study the resulting collective properties.

Engineering of spin canting across core/shell Fe3O4/MnxFe3−xO4 nanoparticle

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 27 February 2018

In the recently published paper in Scientific Reports, Sara A. Majetich and their colleagues have demonstrated the engineering of spin canting across a Magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) via the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI). In this paper, they have shown that strong DMI can lead to magnetic frustration within the shell and cause canting of the net particle moment. These results have illuminated how core/shell nanoparticle systems can be engineered for spin canting across the whole of the particle, rather than solely at the surface.


My Summer Exchange Program at The University of Pittsburgh (PITT) - 2017

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 23 February 2018

Everyear PQI  bring together the undergraduate interns, the incoming graduate class, as well as other USTC alumni who have been in Pittsburgh for few years or more at the UCTS Day Event. Last summer one of the attendees of this event was Hua Jiannan. In this article he shared his experiences at University of Pittsburgh.

Yale Quantum Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 21 February 2018

Yale Quantum Institute invites applicants for the YQI postdoctoral fellowships. These Fellowships will support research in the field of quantum science for recent Ph.D. recipients in the group of any of the YQI faculty members. Candidates should have demonstrated excellent research ability in their prior work and exceptional promise for future leadership in their field of interest. Each candidate should indicate clearly which research group (or in special cases, groups) they intend to work with.

The Yale Quantum Institute (YQI), founded in 2014, serves as a forum to bring together experimental and theoretical researchers at Yale in the field of quantum information physics, quantum optics and nanophotonics, optomechanics, mesoscopic physics, quantum control, quantum measurement, and quantum many-body physics. It provides a synergistic and collaborative setting for Yale’s cutting edge research in these fields.

Venkat Viswanathan Sloan Research Fellows of 2018

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 21 February 2018

Venkat Viswanathan is one the winners of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships. 

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation rewards 126 early-career scholars who represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Sloan Foundation describes their achievements and potential as among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. 

Congratulations Venkat Viswanathan!