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August 2, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Corkscrew photons may leave behind a spontaneous twist

Everything radiates. Whether it's a car door, a pair of shoes or the cover of a book, anything hotter than absolute zero (i.e., pretty much everything) is constantly shedding radiation in the form of photons, the quantum particles of light.A twin process—absorption—is usually also present. As photons carry away energy, passers-by from the environment can be absorbed to replenish it. When absorption and emission occur at the same rate, scientists say that an object is in equilibrium with its environment. This often means that object and environment share the same temperature.Far away from equilibrium, new behaviors can emerge. In a paper published August 1, 2019 as an Editors’ Suggestion in the journal Physical Review Letters, scientists at JQI and Michigan State University suggest that certain materials may experience a spontaneous twisting force if they are hotter than their surroundings.
July 19, 2019 | People News

Second annual trapped-ion conference comes to UMD

The University of Maryland will host the 2nd North American Conference on Trapped Ions (NACTI) from July 22-26. This year’s conference comes two years after the inaugural meeting, which was held on the Boulder, Colorado campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).More than 230 students and researchers from around the globe, all working on the science of trapped atomic ions, will attend five days of sessions at the Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center on campus at UMD.
July 12, 2019 | People News

Gorshkov receives early-career research award

Alexey Gorshkov, a JQI Fellow and a Fellow of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The honor, which is the most prestigious offered by the United States Government to young researchers, was announced July 2. More than 300 scientists and engineers around the country were recognized by PECASE this year for contributions to their respective fields, as well as for their accomplishments in scientific leadership, education, and outreach. This was the first time the award has been given out since 2017, and the winners included researchers who were nominated by federal agencies from 2015-2017.
June 19, 2019 | Research News

Perfect quantum portal emerges at exotic interface

Researchers at the University of Maryland have captured the most direct evidence to date of a quantum quirk that allows particles to tunnel through a barrier like it’s not even there. The result, featured on the cover of the June 20, 2019 issue of the journal Nature, may enable engineers to design more uniform components for future quantum computers, quantum sensors and other devices.The new experiment is an observation of Klein tunneling, a special case of a more ordinary quantum phenomenon. In the quantum world, tunneling allows particles like electrons to pass through a barrier even if they don’t have enough energy to actually climb over it. A taller barrier usually makes this harder and lets fewer particles through.Klein tunneling occurs when the barrier becomes completely transparent, opening up a portal that particles can traverse regardless of the barrier’s height. Scientists and engineers from UMD’s Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials (CNAM), the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC), with appointments in UMD’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Department of Physics, have made the most compelling measurements yet of the effect.
June 17, 2019 | PFC | Research News

Ring resonators corner light

Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have created the first silicon chip that can reliably constrain light to its four corners. The effect, which arises from interfering optical pathways, isn't altered by small defects during fabrication and could eventually enable the creation of robust sources of quantum light.That robustness is due to topological physics, which describes the properties of materials that are insensitive to small changes in geometry. The cornering of light, which was reported June 17 in Nature Photonics, is a realization of a new topological effect, first predicted in 2017.
June 6, 2019 | PFC | People News

Gorshkov student, Kevin Qian, wins 2nd place in prestigious international science fair

Kevin Qian of Montgomery Blair High School placed 2nd in the Physics and Astronomy category at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2019 with his research topic “Heisenberg-Scaling Measurement Protocol for Analytic Functions with Quantum Sensor Networks.” Qian worked with Adjunct Associate Professor Alexey Gorshkov and graduate student researcher Zachary Eldredge in the University of Maryland Department of Physics, the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS).
June 6, 2019 | PFC | People News

JQI Fellow Hafezi Named Finalist for Blavatnik Award

JQI Fellow Mohammad Hafezi has been named a finalist for the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.He is one of 31 researchers competing for three Blavatnik National Laureate Awards in the categories of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Chemistry and Life Sciences, and is one of 10 finalists in Physical Sciences and Engineering. Each of the three National Laureates will win $250,000—the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists. The awards are sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences.
May 28, 2019 | People News | Research News

New Simons Collaboration on "Ultra-Quantum Matter" spans 12 institutions, including UMD

Seventeen theoretical physics faculty across 12 institutions have established a new Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter. The team, which includes Victor Galitski, a Chesapeake Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, will investigate innovative ideas about how quantum physics works on macroscopic scales. This new effort will be led by Professor Ashvin Vishwanath at Harvard University and is supported under the Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences program, which aims to “stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science." 
May 17, 2019 | PFC | Research News

High-resolution imaging technique maps out an atomic wave function

From NIST NewsJQI researchers have demonstrated a new way to obtain the essential details that describe an isolated quantum system, such as a gas of atoms, through direct observation. The new method gives information about the likelihood of finding atoms at specific locations in the system with unprecedented spatial resolution. With this technique, scientists can obtain details on a scale of tens of nanometers—smaller than the width of a virus.The new experiments use an optical lattice—a web of laser light that suspends thousands of individual atoms—to determine the probability that an atom might be at any given location. Because each individual atom in the lattice behaves like all the others, a measurement on the entire group of atoms reveals the likelihood of an individual atom to be in a particular point in space.  Published in the journal Physical Review X, the technique (similar work was published simultaneously by a group at the University of Chicago) can yield the likelihood of the atoms’ locations at well below the wavelength of the light used to illuminate the atoms—50 times better than the limit of what optical microscopy can normally resolve. 
March 25, 2019 | PFC | People News

JQI Fellow Manucharyan receives Google Faculty Research Award

Google AI recently announced that JQI Fellow Vlad Manucharyan is among the recipients for this year's Google Faculty Research Awards. The program supports technical research in areas such as machine learning and quantum computing, the latter of which is Manucharyan's area of specialty. In the 2018 awards cycle the program funded 158 of the 910 proposed projects. Manucharyan, who is also the Alford Ward Professor of Physics at UMD, is a leading condensed matter experimentalist who uses superconducting circuits to make quantum bits, which underlie of one type of quantum computer. This type of research is also an active area of development for Google AI. Beyond qubits, Manucharyan’s team is also exploring ways in which superconducting circuits can probe physics phenomena that remain out of reach for other quantum platforms.