Spring 2019

My escape from the lab: scientific publishing

Dr. Matteo Cavalleri
Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 4:00pm

Across the world and across disciplines, numbers reveal that the term “alt-ac” – referring to positions within higher education and research alternative to the professoriate – is a misnomer. Permanent academic jobs are, in fact, the “alt-ac”. In this talk, I’ll share my (happy) experience going from a computational chemistry lab to my current career on the “other side” of scientific publishing, and explores roles for STEM Ph.D.s in the publishing industry.

Daniel Lambrecht receives a Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 19 February 2019

Prof. Daniel Lambrecht has been selected to receive a 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence by members of the University of Pittsburgh's faculty. Teaching is defined broadly and includes all activities that faculty members engage in to facilitate learning by undergraduate, professional, or graduate students: lecturing; clinical teaching; conducting seminars, tutorials, or recitations; etc. This award consists of a cash prize to the faculty member and a grant to support the faculty member's teaching activities. Daniel will be publicly recognized at the 2019 Honors Convocation.

Read more here

Phase-Change Photonics for All-Optical Memory and Computation

Dr. Nathan Youngblood
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 12:00pm

Phase-change materials have been used commercially as an optical storage medium in the last few decades owing to their high optical contrast and long-term stability, but only recently has a fully integrated photonic device been demonstrated. This approach not only enables all-optical memory on-chip, but also allows multilevel data storage with improved SNR, low switching energy, and high speed operation. In this talk, an overview of integrated, non-volatile photonic memory based on the phase-change material Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) will be presented, together with...

Lillian Chong Presented Protein-protein Binding Pathway using Fully-continuous, Explicit-solvent Simulations

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 12 February 2019


The latest study by Lillian Chong and Ali Saglam in her group demonstrated the power of the weighted ensemble (WE) strategy in enabling explicit-solvent MD simulation of a protein–protein binding process.(Click here for the protein-protein binding simulation video) Their results provide a number of insights regarding the binding mechanism that cannot be obtained by laboratory experiments.

The research by Lillian Chong group appeared in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Science (DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04811H). The WE strategy and others like it have great promise in providing insights involving binding kinetics for a variety of research areas, including biophysics, catalysis, protein engineering, and material design.


Interfacial Coupling and Magnetic Competition in Magnetic and Magnetoelectric Systems

Mikel Holcomb
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 4:00pm

In the American economic system, competition is a critical driver of performance and innovation. The same can be said for materials physics.  My group focuses on studying a variety of strongly correlated quantum systems, where the competition between charge, spin and orbital degrees of freedom can lead to novel or enhanced properties. It is this sensitivity that makes these materials useful for devices. A good device has a measured property (such as resistance or magnetization) that changes dramatically with an external stimulus (such as current, temperature or magnetic field). Competition is a valuable strategy for creating this interplay of parameters. Magnetic competition in magnetic systems, on the other hand, has often been seen as a hindrance. While it typically decreases the overall net magnetization, I will show that it can be utilized to generate novel phenomena useful for devices, such as giant negative magnetization and enhanced magnetization at small applied fields. While much research on magnetism utilizes large fields to strengthen the net magnetization, most devices will need to utilize small fields. While my group also collaborates on a wide range of other systems (such as topological insulators, delafossites and transition edge sensors), much of our focus has been to grow high-quality films and understand the interfacial interactions in magnetic and magnetoelectric layers. I will discuss our first observation of a magnetoelectric dead layer, which motivated our recent interest and successes in magnetic phase competition and then some of the interesting features we have discovered in complex oxide thin films. 

Universal Themes of Bose-Einstein Condensation conference (UBEC 2019)

Multiple Speakers
Monday, April 1, 2019 - 9:00am

The UBEC conference series addresses broad themes of BEC that cross through all types of condensates, including cold atoms, helium and hydrogen, superconductors, quasiparticle condensation, photons and lasing, and condensation in nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology.

The conference will begin with an evening reception Sunday, March 31, and end Friday, April 5, at 3:00 pm. Talks will begin Monday, April 1, promptly at 9:00 am. There will be a poster session on Tuesday, April 2, and conference excursions on the afternoon of Thursday, April 4. The conference banquet will be ...

Highlighted on Science Magazine! Mason Awardee Susan Fullerton Display Benefits of Outsider Perspectives

  • By Huiling Shao
  • 29 January 2019

Susan Fullerton, an assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is one of five winners presented with the 2019 AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Chemical Sciences at a 13 December awards ceremony at the American Association for the Advancement of Science headquarters.

She and her team had created a new ion conductor with a particularly unique property: once the transistor was turned on it stayed on, and once it was turned off it stayed off in the absence of a power supply. This enables memory sticks to store information even when they are disconnected from a computer. Fullerton envisions a future where this type of switching could lead to a memory stick that operates on much lower power than those on the market today and to devices with never-before-seen properties, such as one that can be triggered to permanently destroy its data if it falls into the wrong hands.

Quantum Nanophotonics: Engineering Atom-Photon Interactions on a Chip

Dr. Shuo Sun
Monday, February 18, 2019 - 12:00pm

The ability to engineer controllable atom-photon interactions is at the heart of quantum optics and quantum information processing. In this talk, I will introduce a nanophotonic platform for engineering strong atom-photon interactions on a semiconductor chip. I will first discuss an experimental demonstration of a spin-photon quantum transistor [1], a fundamental building block for quantum repeaters and quantum networks. The device allows a single spin trapped inside a semiconductor quantum dot to switch a single photon, and vice versa, a single photon to flip the spin. I will discuss how...