Time Dilation - News Roundup - Spring 2022




In case this news hasn’t reached you yet, here are some of the top headlines from our newsfeed. Check out these stories and more at physics.illinois.edu.

Moore Foundation grant to enable direct experimental investigation of correlated pairs of electrons in quantum materials

JENNY APPLEQUIST for Materials Research Laboratory
May 11—Strongly correlated materials are a special kind of quantum matter—matter that can’t be described in terms of individual particles, only in terms of relationships among multiple particles—and they’ve been a tough nut for scientists to crack. Existing instruments can’t perform the needed study of more than one electron at the same time. Thanks to a new $1.6 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, that’s about to change. Illinois Physics Professor and IQUIST member Fahad Mahmood will lead an effort to develop an instrument, called “Double-ARPES,” that can reveal the elusive workings of entangled pairs of electrons.

Alumnus Patrick Walsh’s Sun King provides off-grid solar energy to homes in Africa and Asia—having 38 percent of pay-as-you-go market

SUN KING Press Release
Apr 29—Sun King, the largest provider of solar energy products for off-grid homes in Africa and Asia, announced it has raised $260 million in Series D funding, led by BeyondNetZero, the climate investing venture of General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm, along with M&G Investments’ Catalyst team and Arch Emerging Markets Partners. Sun King is leading a transformation in how electricity is provided across Africa and Asia, where 1.8 billion people still lack access to a reliable electrical grid. To date, Sun King has powered the lives of 82 million people across 40 countries.

$7.5M DOD MURI award to explore creation of qubits based on Majorana zero modes 

JENNY APPLEQUIST for Coordinated Science Lab
Apr 15—The Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) has just announced a $7.5 million project that will explore one intriguing option: qubits based on Majorana zero modes (MZMs). MZMs are zero-energy quasiparticles with special properties that suggest they could be used as the basis for very good qubits. New York University’s Javad Shabani will be the principal investigator of the six-university project, and a key piece of the work will be led by Illinois Physics Professor Angela Kou, who is also a member of the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (IQUIST).

Physicists elucidate connection between symmetry and Mott physics in step towards understanding high-temperature superconductivity

DANIEL INAFUKU for Illinois Physics
Mar 21—From the development of Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1957 to the discovery of high-temperature superconducting cuprate ceramics in 1987, superconductivity continues to command attention for its scientific importance as well as its potential applications. Researchers are continuing Illinois’ strong tradition of breakthrough discoveries in this field: Illinois Physics postoctoral researcher Edwin Huang, Illinois Physics Professor Philip Phillips, and Illinois Math Research Professor Gabriele La Nave have recently uncovered a key connection between symmetry and Mott physics (the physics underlying high-temperature superconductors). 

Frederick Lamb, chair elect of the APS Forum on Physics and Society

SIV SCHWINK for Illinois Physics 
Jan 24—Illinois Physics Research Professor Frederick Lamb is currently serving as the 2022 chair-elect of the American Physical Society (APS) Forum on Physics and Society (FPS). Founded in the late 1960s and incorporated as the very first APS forum in 1972, FPS members work to better understand, analyze, inform the public, and advise government officials on societal issues relating to science, including climate change, proliferation of nuclear weapons, and national security. Among Lamb’s goals as a leader of the Forum are to help increase understanding of important science-policy issues by members of the APS and by society at large. These include how best to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing climate emergency, and the dangerous new upward spiral of the nuclear arms race.