The Quantum Revolution: Emerging Technologies at the Atomic Scale

  • Speaker
  • David Awschalom in his lab, March 28, 2019. (Photo by Jean Lachat)David Awschalom, Ph.D.Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and Physics, Vice Dean for Research, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago
Date & Time

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Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.

Traditional electronics are rapidly approaching the length scale of atoms and molecules; the latest computer chips in development include transistors the size of a single strand of DNA. This means that a single atom out of place can have outsized negative consequences — thus requiring an ever-increasing perfect control of materials.

In this talk, David Awschalom will discuss a surprising and promising pathway out of this conundrum that embraces these atomic ‘defects’ to construct devices that enable new information processing, communication and sensing technologies based on the quantum nature of electrons and atomic nuclei.

In addition to electrons’ negative charge — the key property used in classical computing — individual defects in semiconductors and molecules possess an electronic spin state that can be employed as a quantum bit. These so-called ‘qubits’ can be manipulated and read using a simple combination of light and microwaves, retaining their quantum properties over millisecond timescales. With these foundations in hand, Awschalom will discuss emerging opportunities to atomically engineer qubits for a variety of exciting applications, from nuclear memories and entangled registers to sensors and networks for science and technology.

About the Speaker

David Awschalom in his lab, March 28, 2019. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

Awschalom is the Liew Family Professor at The University of Chicago and the inaugural director of Q-NEXT, one of the U.S. DOE Quantum Information Science Research Centers. He explores the quantum behavior of electrons, nuclei and photons in semiconductors and molecules for emerging applications in sensing, communications and computing. Awschalom is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the European Academy of Sciences.

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