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Latest News and Research

Tiny magnetic tremors unlock exotic superconductivity

Deep within solids, individual electrons zip around on a nanoscale highway paved with atoms. For the most part, these electrons avoid one another, kept in separate lanes by their mutual repulsion. But vibrations in the atomic road can blur their lanes and sometimes allow the tiny particles to pair up. The result is smooth and lossless travel, and it’s one way to create superconductivity.But there are other, less common ways to achieve this effect. Scientists from the University of Maryland (UMD), the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Fudan University have now shown that tiny magnetic tremors lead to superconductivity in a material made from metallic nano-layers. And, beyond that, the resulting electron pairs shatter a fundamental symmetry between past and future. Although the...Continue Reading

Quantum Thermometer or Optical Refrigerator?
Versatile optomechanical beams have potential applications in biology, chemistry, electronics.

In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, JQI-NIST physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them. Able to operate in ordinary, room-temperature environments, yet exploiting some of the deepest principles of quantum physics, these optomechanical systems can act as inherently accurate thermometers, or conversely, as a type of optical shield that diverts heat. .Described in a pair of new papers in Science and Physical Review Letters, the potential applications include chip-based temperature sensors for electronics and biology that would never need to be adjusted since they rely on fundamental constants of nature; tiny refrigerators that can cool state-of-the-art microscope components for higher-quality images; and...Continue Reading

The limits of computation
JQI Podcast Episode 13
  • May 18, 2017
  • |

Modern computers, which dwarf their forebears in speed and efficiency, still can't conquer some of the hardest computational problems. Making them even faster probably won't change that.

Computer scientists working in the field of computational complexity theory explore the ultimate limits of computers, cataloguing and classifying a universe of computational problems. For decades, they’ve been stuck on a particular nagging question, which boils down to this: What’s the relationship between solving a problem and checking your work?

Chris Cesare teams up with Emily Edwards and QuICS postdoctoral researcher Bill Fefferman to explain what this question entails and how researchers are tackling it with tools...Continue Reading

Tiny tug unleashes cryogenic currents

Researchers have found that a small stretch is enough to unleash the exotic electrical properties of a recently discovered topological insulator, unshackling a behavior previously locked away at cryogenic temperatures.The compound, called samarium hexaboride, has been studied for decades. But recently it has enjoyed a surge of renewed interest as scientists first predicted and then discovered that it was a new type of topological insulator—a material that banishes electrical currents from its interior and forces them to travel along its periphery. That behavior only emerges at around 4 degrees above absolute zero, though, thwarting potential applications.Now, experimentalists at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), working...Continue Reading

Recent JQI grad receives APS policy fellowship

Lauren Aycock, a recent JQI graduate researcher, has been awarded a Congressional Science Fellowship from the American Physical Society.The fellowship, which lasts for one year, aims to provide members of Congress with the scientific and technical expertise of trained scientists. In turn, fellows like Aycock get to learn first-hand about public policy and communicate with Congress on behalf of the scientific community. After an orientation sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she will begin working either in a congressional office or on a committee.Continue Reading

Trapped ions and superconductors face off in quantum benchmark

The race to build larger and larger quantum computers is heating up, with several technologies competing for a role in future devices. Each potential platform has strengths and weaknesses, but little has been done to directly compare the performance of early prototypes. Now, researchers at the JQI have performed a first-of-its-kind benchmark test of two small quantum computers built from different technologies.The team, working with JQI Fellow Christopher Monroe and led by postdoctoral researcher Norbert Linke, sized up their own small-scale quantum computer against a device built by IBM. Both machines use five qubits—the fundamental units of information in a quantum computer—and both...Continue Reading

JQI undergraduate researcher Eliot Fenton receives Goldwater Scholarship

Three University of Maryland students have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. The Goldwater Foundation also recognized a fourth UMD student with an Honorable Mention.Eliot Fenton, along with Christopher Bambic and Prayaag Venkat were among the 240 Barry Goldwater Scholars selected from 1,286 students nominated nationally this year. Natalie Livingston was recognized with an Honorable Mention. The four students, all currently UMD Juniors, plan to pursue doctoral degrees in their areas of study and to become university professors or researchers at...Continue Reading

Phillips named corresponding member of Mexican Academy of Sciences

JQI Fellow, Nobel laureate and Distinguished University Professor William Phillips has been inducted into the Mexican Academy of Sciences (la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias) as a corresponding member. The honor will be marked by an evening event held in Mexico City on March 23.The event includes a talk by Phillips, titled "Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe," as well as a discussion between Phillips, Mexican Academy of Sciences president Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi, and JQI Fellow and physics professor Luis Orozco, who nominated Phillips for membership. The entire program will be broadcast live beginning at 6 p.m. EDT.Continue Reading

Latest News and Research

  • Tiny magnetic tremors unlock exotic superconductivity

    Deep within solids, individual electrons zip around on a nanoscale highway paved with atoms. For the most part, these electrons avoid one another, kept in separate lanes by their mutual repulsion. But vibrations in the atomic road can blur their lanes and sometimes allow the tiny particles to pair up. The result is smooth and lossless travel, and it’s one way to create superconductivity.But... Continue Reading

  • Quantum Thermometer or Optical Refrigerator?
    Versatile optomechanical beams have potential applications in biology, chemistry, electronics.

    In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, JQI-NIST physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them. Able to operate in ordinary, room-temperature environments, yet exploiting some of the deepest principles of quantum physics, these optomechanical systems can act as inherently accurate thermometers, or conversely, as a... Continue Reading

  • The limits of computation
    JQI Podcast Episode 13
    • May 18, 2017
    • |
  • Tiny tug unleashes cryogenic currents

    Researchers have found that a small stretch is enough to unleash the exotic electrical properties of a recently discovered topological insulator, unshackling a behavior previously locked away at cryogenic temperatures.The compound, called samarium hexaboride, has been studied for decades. But recently it has enjoyed a surge of renewed interest as scientists ... Continue Reading

  • Recent JQI grad receives APS policy fellowship

    Lauren Aycock, a recent JQI graduate researcher, has been awarded a Congressional Science Fellowship from the American Physical Society.The fellowship, which lasts for one year, aims to provide members of Congress with the scientific and technical expertise of trained scientists. In turn, fellows like Aycock get to learn first-hand about public policy and communicate with Congress on behalf of... Continue Reading

  • Trapped ions and superconductors face off in quantum benchmark

    The race to build larger and larger quantum computers is heating up, with several technologies competing for a role in future devices. Each potential platform has strengths and weaknesses, but little has been done to directly compare the performance of early prototypes. Now, researchers at the JQI have performed a first-of-its-kind benchmark test of two small quantum computers built from... Continue Reading

  • JQI undergraduate researcher Eliot Fenton receives Goldwater Scholarship

    Three University of Maryland students have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. The Goldwater Foundation also recognized a fourth UMD student with an Honorable... Continue Reading

  • Phillips named corresponding member of Mexican Academy of Sciences

    JQI Fellow, Nobel laureate and Distinguished University Professor William Phillips has been inducted into the Mexican Academy of Sciences (la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias) as a corresponding member. The honor will be marked by an evening event held in Mexico City on March 23.The event includes a talk by Phillips, titled "Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe," as well... Continue Reading

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