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September 6, 2019 | Podcast

Taming chaos with physics and AI

In many situations, chaos makes it nearly impossible to predict what will happen next. Nowhere is this more apparent than in weather forecasts, which are notorious for their unreliability. But the clever application of artificial intelligence can help reign in some chaotic systems, making them more predictable than ever before. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with Michelle Girvan, a physics professor at the University of Maryland (UMD), to talk about how artificial intelligence can help predict chaotic behavior, as well as how combining machine learning with conventional physics models might yield even better predictions and insights into both methods.
August 16, 2019 | Research News

Ions clear another hurdle toward scaled-up quantum computing

Scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) have been steadily improving the performance of ion trap systems, a leading platform for future quantum computers. Now, a team of researchers led by JQI Fellows Norbert Linke and Christopher Monroe has performed a key experiment on five ion-based quantum bits, or qubits. They used laser pulses to simultaneously create quantum connections between different pairs of qubits—the first time these kinds of parallel operations have been executed in an ion trap. The new study, which is a critical step toward large-scale quantum computation, was published on July 24 in the journal Nature.     
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."