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April 29, 2020 | People News

Manucharyan Receives Second Consecutive Google Faculty Research Award

JQI Fellow Vladimir Manucharyan has received a 2019 Google Faculty Research Award. It is the second consecutive year that Manucharyan, who is also an Associate Professor of Physics at UMD, has earned the honor.

This year’s award will continue to support research by Manucharyan and his team into quantum computing hardware based on superconducting circuits. They are pursuing the development of special quantum bits—called fluxonium qubits—for use in a new generation of computers.

Red, purple and green light shine in the laboratory equipment used to create atomic gases for experiments.
April 27, 2020 | Research News

Quantum Gases Won’t Take the Heat

The quantum world blatantly defies intuitions that we’ve developed while living among relatively large things, like cars, pennies and dust motes. The quantum behavior of dynamical localization bucks the assumption that a cold object will always steal heat from a warmer object.Until now, dynamical localization has only been observed for single quantum objects, which has prevented it from contributing to attempts to pin down where the changeover occurs. JQI researchers and colleagues have investigated mathematical models to see if dynamical localization can still arise when many quantum particles interact. To reveal the physics, they had to craft models to account for various temperatures, interaction strengths and lengths of times. The team’s results, published in Physical Review Letters, suggest that dynamical localization can occur even when strong interactions are part of the picture.
April 15, 2020 | Research News

Peeking into a World of Spin-3/2 Materials

Researchers have been pushing the frontiers of the quantum world for over a century. And time after time, spin has been a rich source of new physics. Spin is essential when delving into virtually any topic governed by quantum mechanics, from superconductors to the Higgs Boson. In the past couple years, researchers have discovered materials in which electrons behave like their spin has been bumped up, from 1/2 to 3/2. JQI postdoctoral researcher Igor Boettcher explored the new behaviors these spins might produce in a recent paper featured on the cover of Physical Review Letters.
April 15, 2020 | PFC | Research News

New Protocol Helps Classify Topological Matter

Topological materials have captured the interest of many scientists and may provide the basis for a new era in materials development. On April 10, 2020 in the journal Science Advances, physicists working with Andreas Elben, Jinlong Yu, Peter Zoller and Benoit Vermersch, including JQI Fellow Mohammad Hafezi and former JQI postdoctoral researcher Guanyu Zhu (currently a research staff member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center), presented a new method for identifying and characterizing topological invariants on various experimental platforms, testing their protocol in a quantum simulator made of neutral atoms.
April 9, 2020 | Podcast

Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

Topology—the mathematical study of shapes that describes how a donut differs from a donut hole—has turned out to be remarkably relevant to understanding our physical world. For decades, it’s captured the hearts and minds of physicists, who have spent that time uncovering just how deep the connection between topology and physics runs. Among many other things, they’ve unearthed a prediction, born of topology, for a new particle with promising applications to quantum computing. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina Genkina sits down with JQI Fellow Jay Sau, an associate professor of physics at UMD, and Johnpierre Paglione, a professor of physics at UMD and the director of the Quantum Materials Center. They take a trip back to the 1980s, when the story of topology in physics began, and arrive at a recent discovery by Paglione and his collaborators of a (possible) topological superconductor.
A colorful representation of an ion trap functioning as a simulation of a lattice gauge theory simulating nuclear physics.
April 8, 2020 | Research News

Charting a Course Toward Quantum Simulations of Nuclear Physics

In nuclear physics, like much of science, detailed theories alone aren’t always enough to unlock solid predictions. There are often too many pieces, interacting in complex ways, for researchers to follow the logic of a theory through to its end. But simulations have helped researchers explore many challenging questions. Now, quantum simulators (which exploit quantum effects like superposition and entanglement) promise to bring their power to bear on many problems that have refused to yield to simulations built atop classical computers—including problems in nuclear physics. But to run any simulation, quantum or otherwise, scientists must first determine how to faithfully represent their system of interest in their simulator. They must create a map between the two.
March 31, 2020 | Research News

To Tune Up Your Quantum Computer, Better Call an AI Mechanic

A high-end race car engine needs all its components tuned and working together precisely to deliver top-quality performance. The same can be said about the processor inside a quantum computer, whose delicate bits must be adjusted in just the right way before it can perform a calculation. Who’s the right mechanic for this quantum tuneup job? According to a team that includes scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it’s an artificial intelligence, that’s who.The team’s paper in the journal Physical Review Applied outlines a way to teach an AI to make an interconnected set of adjustments to tiny quantum dots, which are among the many promising devices for creating the quantum bits, or “qubits,” that would form the switches in a quantum computer’s processor.
March 6, 2020 | People News

Two JQI Fellows Participate in New MURI Awards

JQI researchers are part of two teams that have received Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) awards from the Department of Defense (DoD). DoD awards these competitive grants annually to promote multidisciplinary work by teams spanning several universities. MURI awards focus on topics that are important to DoD and that may promote development of new technologies.
February 7, 2020 | People News

JQI Researchers Receive Quantum Award from Google

JQI Fellow Mohammad Hafezi and JQI Graduate Researchers Alireza Seif and Hwanmun Kim have received an award from Google to support research identifying and developing problems that simple quantum computers might help solve. The work could bridge the divide between demonstrating quantum supremacy, as Google claimed to do in October, and building practical quantum computers that can run established algorithms.“It is an exciting time when industry and academia work together on quantum problems,” Hafezi says. “I am looking forward to collaborating with the Google AI team,” he adds, referring to Google’s artificial intelligence research arm.
February 3, 2020 | People News | Podcast

Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

Software just might be the unsung hero of physics labs. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with JQI postdoctoral researcher and programming aficionado Chris Billington to talk about his passion project—a piece of experimental control software that’s gaining popularity in labs here at the University of Maryland and around the world.
January 13, 2020 | People News

Fifth Edition of “Exploring Quantum Physics” to Launch on Coursera

JQI Fellows Charles Clark and Victor Galitski will launch the fifth edition of their Coursera class on quantum physics Jan. 20, 2020. Alireza Parhizkar, a graduate student at JQI, will serve as teaching assistant.“The course begins by establishing the conceptual grounds of quantum mechanics and promises an exciting journey,” says Parhizkar, who joined Galitski’s research group in the summer of 2019. “It fulfills this promise by immersing the learner in advanced subjects of quantum physics, like superconductivity and path integrals, and illustrating them with colorful exercises.”

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