Quantum Materials Symposium to Showcase Local Expertise and Highlight Partnerships in D.C. Region

The University of Maryland held a one-day symposium focusing on local research into quantum materials—condensed matter systems that exhibit strong quantum effects and hold promise as potential components in next-generation computers, sensors and other devices on Sept. 26, 2019, in the Kim Engineering Building.  

Hosted by UMD’s Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials (CNAM)—which will be renamed the Quantum Materials Center next month—the event broght together researchers from the university’s Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, in addition to researchers from the nearby National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences. Around 50 quantum materials researchers and institutional leaders were expected to attend.

CNAM Director and Professor of Physics Johnpierre Paglione, together with Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) Fellow and Assistant Professor of Physics James Williams, organized the event, which included talks on recent quantum materials research as well as reflections on collaborations that have formed among UMD researchers and also between researchers at UMD and area partners such as NIST.

“Fundamental studies of quantum materials play a critical role in not only supporting current development of quantum technologies, but also the discovery of new phenomena that hold promise for future applications,” Paglione said. “This symposium will bring together the top experts from our local community and will hopefully sprout new collaborations and partnerships.”

Amitabh Varshney, dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, and Robert Briber, associate dean of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, delivered their perspectives on campus initiatives in quantum science, including the newly formed Quantum Technology Center. Carl Williams, a JQI Fellow and the acting director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST, discussed aspects of the National Quantum Initiative, and Dan Neumann, group leader of neutron condensed matter science at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), discussed the partnership between CNAM and NCNR, which recently led to the discovery of a superconductor that may be useful in future quantum computers.

“CNAM maintains strong interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers across several departments and institutes,” Paglione said. “Going forward, we want to strengthen those partnerships, which have contributed to the success of CNAM’s fundamental research on quantum materials.”

Jeffrey Lynn, a NIST Fellow and adjunct professor of physics at UMD, is the team leader for condensed matter physics at NCNR. He noted, “There have been longstanding multidisciplinary cooperative research collaborations between NIST and UMD in general, and the NCNR and CNAM in particular,” Lynn says. “In addition to the research output, these collaborations provide cross-institutional research capabilities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and scientific staff that are essential to perform the best quantum materials research.”

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Story by Chris Cesare, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland Delivers Paint Branch Lecture

2018 Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo, the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics (after Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963) visited UMD on September 19 to deliver the 2019 Paint Branch Distinguished Lecture in Applied Physics.  In addition to giving her talk, “From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics”, Strickland met with an enthusiastic group of women graduate students.

Donna Strickland visited UMD on 9/19/19.Donna Strickland visited UMD on 9/19/19.

Strickland earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, and held appointments at the National Research Council Canada, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Princeton University before joining the University of Waterloo in 1997.  She has received a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She is a past president of the Optical Society (OSA) and is an OSA Fellow and an SPIE Fellow.

Peter Shawhan Elected APS Fellow

Peter Shawhan has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was cited for the “development of techniques and algorithms to search LIGO data for transient signals, and for realizing the important future scientific implications of gravitational wave observations by looking for other signals developed by electromagnetic observations.”

Shawhan received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago, and was appointed a Millikan Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He continued at Caltech as a Senior Scientist before accepting a faculty appointment with UMD Physics in 2006.  Shawhan’s primary research for the past 20 years has been direct detection of gravitational waves with the LIGO and Virgo detectors, and he has held numerous leadership positions within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, including Burst Analysis Working Group Co-Chair (2004-11) and LSC Data Analysis Coordinator (2017-present).  He was instrumental in establishing and nurturing a program of sharing prompt information about gravitational-wave event candidates with astronomers to allow them to look for corresponding signals in their instruments.  That groundwork enabled a remarkably rich campaign of astronomical follow-up observations and study, spanning the whole electromagnetic spectrum, when LIGO and Virgo detected the first binary neutron merger event, in August 2017.  That first event has provided scientific breakthroughs in fundamental physics, neutron star properties, high-energy astrophysics, and cosmology.  LIGO and Virgo are currently collecting more data and reporting more event candidates as they are identified.

Shawhan served as the Physics Associate Chair for Graduate Education from 2014-19 and is a member of the UMD-Goddard Joint Space-Science Institute and its Executive Committee. In addition, he is a past Chair of the Division of Gravitational Physics of the American Physical Society. Shawhan received the Richard A. Ferrell Distinguished Faculty Fellowship from the UMD Department of Physics in 2016. He was the recipient in 2018 of the Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize and the USM Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research.

Ray Phaneuf of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who holds an affiliate appointment in Physics, was also elected "for development of novel industrial applications of thin film techniques including coatings for the protection of cultural heritage objects against corrosion and directed-assembly of nanostructures on semiconductor surfaces."

Chris Monroe Wins Lamb Award

Christopher Monroe, a JQI Fellow, Distinguished University Professor, and Bice Seci-Zorn Professor in the Department of Physics at UMD, has received the 2020 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics.

The award, which has been sponsored by the Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) conference since 1998, annually honors researchers who have made “outstanding contributions” to the study of lasers and their interaction with matter. Monroe, who is an expert in trapping atomic ions and harnessing them to process information, shares this year’s Lamb Award with Stephen E. Harris of Stanford University and Alexei Sokolov of Texas A&M University.

The three winners will be honored at the next PQE conference, which will be held January 5-10, 2020 in Snowbird, Utah.

Faculty Position in Theoretical Plasma Physics

The University of Maryland Department of Physics invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the level of Assistant Professor in theoretical plasma physics. A more senior level position may be considered for exceptional candidates. 

The Department has a broad research effort in plasma physics, including nonlinear dynamics, magnetic confinement fusion theory, plasma astrophysics, heliospheric plasma physics, and intense laser-plasma/laser particle-beam interactions. Our on-campus ties to astronomy, electrical engineering, applied mathematics, computer science, and quantum and applied physics complement our ties to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, both located nearby. The successful candidate will be a leader from any area(s) of theoretical plasma physics. The preferred starting date for the position is August of 2020.

Minimum requirements: A Ph.D. in physics or a physics-related discipline.  Good teaching, particularly in settings with diverse groups, is a high priority of the Department, and a potential for teaching excellence is necessary. Candidates should have a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, have good communication skills, and have the potential for leadership within the research community. The University of Maryland and Department of Physics are committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. Candidates who have experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students, and who can contribute to the climate of inclusivity are encouraged to identify their experience in these areas.

Only applications submitted through the UMD online site will be considered: https://ejobs.umd.edu/postings/73354

Required are (1) a cover letter, (2) a CV, (3) a statement of research interests and plans, (4) a statement of teaching philosophy and (5) the names and email addresses of four reference writers. For best consideration, applications should be received by December 1, 2019.

The University of Maryland, College Park, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment, in all aspects of employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.