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Latest News and Research

In memoriam: JQI Alumnus and physics professor James Robert “Bob” Anderson

Professor Emeritus James Robert “Bob” Anderson died on March 25, 2018 after a brief hospitalization. He was 85. 

Prof. Anderson received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University and was recruited by John S. Toll to strengthen the Department’s efforts in solid state physics. He held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at the Mond Laboratory of Cambridge University before joining UMD in 1964 as an assistant professor. During his long career, his research spanned several topics in experimental condensed matter physics. He made highly-cited contributions to superconducting quantum computing since the late 1990s, and to diluted magnetic semiconductors from 1984 until the current decade. He also researched Fermi surfaces in many materials—mostly via experiment, but doing band-structure theory—from his thesis in 1962 through at least the 1980s. He enjoyed visiting appointments at the...Continue Reading

Latest nanowire experiment boosts confidence in Majorana sighting
New test matches theory and offers the best evidence yet for the oddball particles.

In the latest experiment of its kind, researchers have captured the most compelling evidence to date that unusual particles lurk inside a special kind of superconductor. The result, which confirms theoretical predictions first made nearly a decade ago at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the University of Maryland (UMD), will be published in the April 5 issue of Nature. The stowaways, dubbed Majorana quasiparticles, are different from ordinary matter like electrons or quarks—the stuff that makes up the elements of the periodic table. Unlike those particles, which as far as physicists know can’t be broken down into more basic pieces, Majorana... Continue Reading

Two-toned light pattern creates steep quantum walls for atoms
A new landscape promises to bring ultracold atomic neighbors closer than ever before

Exotic physics can happen when quantum particles come together and talk to each other. Understanding such processes is challenging for scientists, because the particle interactions can be hard to glimpse and even harder to control. Moreover, modern computer simulations struggle to make sense of all the intricate dynamics going on in a large group of particles. Luckily, atoms cooled to near zero temperatures can provide insight into this problem.Lasers can make cold atoms mimic the physics seen in other systems—an approach that is familiar terrain for atomic physicists. They regularly use intersecting laser beams to capture atoms in a landscape... Continue Reading

JQI Fellow Barkeshli receives 2018 Sloan Research Fellowship

Maissam Barkeshli, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maryland and fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, has been awarded a 2018 Sloan Research Fellowship. Granted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this award identifies 126 early-career scientists based on their potential to contribute fundamentally significant research to a wider academic community. Barkeshli, a theoretical condensed matter physicist interested in complex quantum many-body phenomena, will use the fellowship to further his research into the collective behavior that emerges in systems of strongly interacting particles governed by the laws of quantum mechanics.“I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship,” said... Continue Reading

New hole-punched crystal clears a path for quantum light
Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road.

Optical highways for light are at the heart of modern communications. But when it comes to guiding individual blips of light called photons, reliable transit is far less common. Now, a collaboration of researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), led by JQI Fellows Mohammad Hafezi and Edo Waks, has created a photonic chip that both generates single photons, and steers them around. The device, described in the Feb. 9 issue of Science, features a way for the quantum light to seamlessly move, unaffected by certain obstacles."This design incorporates well-known ideas that protect the flow of current in certain electrical devices," says Hafezi.... Continue Reading

Light may unlock a new quantum dance for electrons in graphene

A team of researchers has devised a simple way to tune a hallmark quantum effect in graphene—the material formed from a single layer of carbon atoms—by bathing it in light. Their theoretical work, which was published recently in Physical Review Letters, suggests a way to realize novel quantum behavior that was previously predicted but has so far remained inaccessible in experiments."Our idea is to use light to engineer these materials in place," says Tobias Grass, a postdoctoral researcher at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and a co-author of the paper. "The big advantage of light is its flexibility. It’s like having... Continue Reading

Former JQI researcher wins Chilean L'Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science

Carla Hermann Avigliano, a former postdoc with JQI Fellow Paul Lett, is one of two women scientists to receive the Chilean L'Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science. She was selected for the prize out of 77 applications and cited for her research achievements during her early career. The award is part of a larger program that aims to internationally recognize women researchers in science and operates throughout the world. In Chile, 21 women from various areas of science such as physics, chemistry, biology, nursing, geology, forestry, biotechnology and ecology, among others, have received the prize since 2007.... Continue Reading

Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist
Trey Porto, a NIST physicist and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, spends his days using atoms and lasers to study quantum physics. But even outside of the lab, he views the world as one great physics problem to tackle. So one morning when he spotted some sunlight dancing across his wall, he couldn’t help but dive in and calculate its movements. He then took his project a step further and began constructing a sundial. Emily sat down with Porto to hear about his clock-making hobby and how today’s time-keeping differs from its ancient counterparts. This episode of Relatively Certain... Continue Reading

Latest News and Research

  • In memoriam: JQI Alumnus and physics professor James Robert “Bob” Anderson
  • Latest nanowire experiment boosts confidence in Majorana sighting
    New test matches theory and offers the best evidence yet for the oddball particles.

    In the latest experiment of its kind, researchers have captured the most compelling evidence to date that unusual particles lurk inside a special kind of superconductor. The result, which confirms theoretical predictions first made nearly a decade ago at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the University of Maryland (UMD), will be published in the April 5 issue of Nature. The... Continue Reading

  • Two-toned light pattern creates steep quantum walls for atoms
    A new landscape promises to bring ultracold atomic neighbors closer than ever before

    Exotic physics can happen when quantum particles come together and talk to each other. Understanding such processes is challenging for scientists, because the particle interactions can be hard to glimpse and even harder to control. Moreover, modern computer simulations struggle to make sense of all the intricate dynamics going on in a large group of particles. Luckily, atoms cooled to near... Continue Reading

  • JQI Fellow Barkeshli receives 2018 Sloan Research Fellowship

    Maissam Barkeshli, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maryland and fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, has been awarded a 2018 Sloan Research Fellowship. Granted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this award identifies 126 early-career scientists based on their potential to contribute fundamentally significant research to a wider academic community. Barkeshli, a... Continue Reading

  • New hole-punched crystal clears a path for quantum light
    Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road.

    Optical highways for light are at the heart of modern communications. But when it comes to guiding individual blips of light called photons, reliable transit is far less common. Now, a collaboration of researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), led by JQI Fellows Mohammad Hafezi and Edo Waks, has created a photonic chip that both generates single photons, and steers them around. The... Continue Reading

  • Light may unlock a new quantum dance for electrons in graphene

    A team of researchers has devised a simple way to tune a hallmark quantum effect in graphene—the material formed from a single layer of carbon atoms—by bathing it in light. Their theoretical work, which was published recently in Physical Review Letters, suggests a way to realize novel quantum behavior... Continue Reading

  • Former JQI researcher wins Chilean L'Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science

    Carla Hermann Avigliano, a former postdoc with JQI Fellow Paul Lett, is one of two women scientists to receive the Chilean L'Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science. She was selected for the prize out of 77 applications and cited... Continue Reading

  • Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist
    Trey Porto, a NIST physicist and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, spends his days using atoms and lasers to study quantum physics. But even outside of the lab, he views the world as one great physics problem to tackle. So one morning when he spotted some sunlight dancing across his wall, he couldn’t help but dive in and calculate its movements. He then took his project a step further and... Continue Reading

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