Spring 2018

Large-Scale Forces and Small-Scale Experiments: Levitated Optomechanics for Precision Gravitational Measurements

Speaker(s): 
Brian D'Urso
Dates: 
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

We set out to combine a mechanical system in which classical mechanics breaks down and quantum mechanics must be used with a seemingly unlikely application, measurement of the strength and effects of gravity. Our optomechanical system consists of a silica microsphere levitated in ultra-high vacuum in a magneto-gravitational trap. The microsphere is trapped in a magnetic field gradient created by permanent magnets and ferromagnetic pole pieces using the weak diamagnetism of the particle. With optical position measurements and feedback, the mechanical motion can be cooled by several orders of magnitude, ideally reaching the quantum ground state. The extreme sensitivity of this optomechanical system to external forces makes it a promising approach to a new measurement of the Newtonian gravitational constant. Furthermore, by measuring the decoherence rate of non-classical motional states of the trapped particle, it may be possible to place limits on theories of gravitational decoherence. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1757005

Size, Shape, and Composition-Dependent Model for Metal Nanoparticle Stability Prediction

  • By Leena Aggarwal
  • 4 April 2018

Giannis Mpourmpakis and his students have proposed a bond-centric (BC) model able to capture cohesive energy trends over a range of monometallic and bimetallic nanoparticles and mixing behavior (excess energy) of nanoalloys, in great agreement with DFT calculations. This model utilizes to calculate the energetics of any nanoparticle morphology and chemical composition, thus significantly accelerating nanoalloys design. This work introduces a simple yet very powerful tool for nanoalloy design that can potentially help elucidate the energetics of alloy MNP genomes.

 

Quantum Mechanics and Christianity

Speaker(s): 
Multiple Speakers
Dates: 
Friday, April 6, 2018 - 7:30pm to Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 2:00pm

Quantum mechanics is a strange theory, and it has been used to justify all manner of religious claims such as extra-sensory perception. This year we bring together five experts on the physics of quantum mechanics to discuss what we know and what we don’t know. We will work both to make the basic laws of quantum mechanics accessible to the non-expert, while at the same time addressing cutting-edge debates in the philosophy and application of quantum physics.

 

Reegister here!

Building EPSCoR-State/National Laboratory Partnerships

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 3 April 2018

The U. S. Department of Energy's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program hereby announces its interest in receiving applications for building EPSCoR-State/DOE-National LaboratoryPartnerships. These partnerships are to advance fundamental, early-stage energy research collaborations with the DOE national laboratories. Participation by graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows is required. Junior faculty from EPSCoR jurisdictions are encouraged to apply. Utilization of DOE user facilities are encouraged. 

Quantum Testbed Pathfinder

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 27 March 2018

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) announces its interest in receiving applications to explore of the suitability of various implementations of quantum computing hardware for science applications. This foundational research will facilitate the development of device architectures well-suited for scientific applications of quantum computing and improve our understanding of the advantages and limitations of various approaches to quantum computing for science applications. 

PittHonors Travel Award

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 27 March 2018

PittHonors will award up to $500 for students presenting at conferences. Students must be honors eligible (3.5 GPA), provide a copy of their invitation to present, and attach a faculty letter of support. Travel funds are awarded on a first-come basis until the annual budget is exhausted. Students may receive the PittHonors travel award only once.​
 

Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Department of Defense Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 27 March 2018

The Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), one element of the University Research Initiative (URI), is sponsored by the DoD research offices. Those offices include the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

DOD's MURI program addresses high risk basic research and attempts to understand or achieve something that has never been done before. The program was initiated over 25 years ago and it has regularly produced significant scientific breakthroughs with far reaching consequences to the fields of science, economic growth, and revolutionary new military technologies. Key to the program’s success is the close management of the MURI projects by Service program officers and their active role in providing research guidance.

University of Pittsburgh Names New Dean for Swanson School of Engineering

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 21 March 2018

James R. Martin II, the Bob Benmosche Professor and Chair of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University, has been named dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson announced today. He will begin his deanship on August 15.

CASPEr: The lab-scale NMR-based search for axion-like dark matter

Speaker(s): 
Alex Sushkov
Dates: 
Monday, March 26, 2018 - 4:30pm

The nature of dark matter is one of the most important open problems in modern physics. Axions, originally introduced to resolve the strong CP problem in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), and axion-like particles (ALPs) are strongly motivated dark matter candidates. Nuclear spins interacting with axion-like background dark matter experience a torque, oscillating at the axion Compton frequency. The Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiments (CASPEr) use precision magnetometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques to search for the effects of this interaction. CASPEr has the potential to...

Segregation-induced ordered superstructures

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 21 March 2018

Michael Widom and his colleagues showed what happens at the grain boundaries of one particular alloy of the metals nickel and bismuth that makes it brittle in their paper published in Science. Using advanced electron microscopes, Widom’s collaborators at Lehigh University scrutinized these microscopic grain boundaries at an atomic level. In a "very heroic experimental program" they discovered that when grains met, the bismuth and nickel atoms realigned into lattices to form layered superstructures at the grain boundaries. These superstructures had previously been thought to exist only rarely in some alloys. Finding it at many different boundaries led the team to conclude that these superstructures are probably much more common than many people had thought. 

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