Colloquia

Colloquium
Friday, September 25, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"TBA"


Chris Neu , University of Virginia - Department of Physics
[Host: Bob Jones]
Colloquium
Friday, September 4, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"TBA"


Professor Steven Girvin , Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, Yale University
[Host: Olivier Pfister and Israel Klich]
ABSTRACT:

TBA

Special Colloquium


Monday, February 24, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 203
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"Integrated x(2) photonics"


Professor Hong Tang , Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University
[Host: UVA Student Chapter of OSA/SPIE]
ABSTRACT:

The ability to generate and manipulate photons with high efficiency and coherence is of critical importance for both fundamental quantum optics studies and practical device applications. However mainstream integrated photonic platforms such as those based on silicon and silicon nitride lack the preferred cubic c(2) nonlinearity, which limits active photon control functionalities. In this talk, I will present integrated photonics based on aluminum nitride (AlN) and lithium niobite (LN), whose non-centrosymmetric crystal structures give rise to the strong second-order optical nonlinearity. Together with their low optical loss, the integrated AlN and LN photonics can provide enhanced c(2) photon-photon interactions to achieve high fidelity photon control, including on-chip parametric down-conversion, coherent light conversion, spectral-temporal shaping, and microwave-to-optical frequency conversions.

 

 

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 19, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"Deconfinement on Axion Domain Walls"


Mohamed Anber , Lewis & Clark College
[Host: Peter Arnold]
ABSTRACT:

The general lore, according to effective field theory, is that one ignores the high energy degrees of freedom when studying low energy phenomena. For example, we usually do not need to know quantum chromodynamics (QCD) (the strong nuclear force) in order to study fluid mechanics! However, the existence of 't Hooft anomalies (subtle phases in the partition function) may signal non-trivial intertwining between the high and low energy scales. This assertion can be seen in axion physics; axion is a hypothetical particle that may play important roles in solving a few puzzles in the Universe.  After a brief introduction to QCD and axions, I show how this intertwining takes place on axion domain walls (DW). To this end, I first discuss a new class of 't Hooft anomalies that was recently identified, and then use the anomalies to argue that quarks are deconfined (liberated) on axion DW. This newly discovered phenomenon implies that non-trivial interplay between different scales happens on the walls. Further, I confirm this picture by performing explicit calculations in a toy model, which is argued to be continuously connected to the full-fledged QCD.

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 12, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"New connections between Quantum Field Theory and String Theory"


Christoph Uhlemann , University of Michigan
[Host: Peter Arnold]
ABSTRACT:

Quantum field theory is a universal language in theoretical physics, which provides the foundation for the Standard Model of elementary particles, underlies the physics of the early universe, and describes a wealth of interesting phenomena in condensed matter. But despite its great successes, fully understanding this important framework is still very much a work in progress. Many insights, especially into theories with strong interactions, have been obtained using mathematical tools from string theory, and this has reshaped our understanding of what quantum field theory is. In this talk I will discuss new connections between quantum field theory and string theory that provide access to a remarkable class of theories that would not have been believed to exist based on conventional lore.

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 5, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"Neutrinos - Harbingers of New Physics"


Julian Heeck , University of California, Irvine
[Host: Peter Arnold]
ABSTRACT:

Neutrinos are the most elusive known elementary particles; they fly through all of us in vast numbers but are extremely difficult to detect. Immense progress has been made in analyzing their properties over the last decades, culminating in the surprising discovery of neutrino flavor oscillations. These neutrino oscillations imply that neutrinos have tiny but nonzero masses, which provides strong evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. With the increasing precision in neutrino measurements it has even become possible to use neutrinos as a tool to probe for further new physics, e.g. by studying how neutrinos scatter off electrons. In addition, neutrinos could prove uniquely helpful in the search for dark matter and provide complementary information to standard indirect detection signatures.

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 29, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"Generating New Physics from Known Particles: Baryogenesis and Dark Matter from Mesons"


Gilly Elor , University of Washington
[Host: Peter Arnold]
ABSTRACT:

I will address two of the most fundamental questions about our Universe -- "What is the Universe made of?” and "How did complex structures come to exist?”. These translate into understanding the origins of dark matter and a mechanism to generate the asymmetry of matter over anti-matter in the early Universe. I will put these problems in context and then present a novel, testable, solution to both mysteries in the same framework.  The key idea is to rely on Standard Model particles called Beauty (B) Mesons which decay into dark matter particles. This mechanism has multiple testable signals. Some experimental searches are already under development, the results of which could yield the first hints of how nature chose to address these profound questions.

Colloquium
Friday, January 24, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"What do we learn about gravity & nuclear physics from gravitational waves?"


Kent Yagi , University of Virginia - Department of Physics
[Host: Bob Jones]
ABSTRACT:

A hundred years after the prediction by Einstein, gravitational waves were directly detected for the first time in 2015 by LIGO, which marked the dawn of gravitational-wave astronomy. Gravitational waves are sourced by astrophysical compact objects, such as black holes and neutron stars. Due to their extremely large gravitational field and compactness, they offer us natural testbeds to probe strong-field gravity and dense matter physics. In this talk, I first give an overview of the current status of gravitational-wave observations. Next, I explain how well one can test General Relativity, constrain the equation of state of nuclear matter and measure nuclear parameters with gravitational waves. I also comment on how one can combine gravitational-wave information with the recent measurement of a neutron star radius by an X-ray payload NICER to further probe nuclear physics.

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 22, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"Quantum Open Systems and Field Theory"


Duff Neill , Los Alamos National Lab
[Host: Peter Arnold]
ABSTRACT:

When learning about the properties of a quantum mechanical system, for instance, the energy levels of its bound states, it is useful to think of the system as closed and isolated from any environment, though we know in any laboratory setting, all systems eventually will interact with an environment. However, we can often engineer such interactions to be weak, short-ranged, and controllable, so that the isolated approximation is a good one.

I will argue that in many physically relevant field theories, the long-time observables or states of the theory can only be defined in the context of a quantum open system, where we take into account the interactions between the system and the environment continually in the evolution of the system. This is because excitations of the field theory will inevitably create their own environment, that is, states we must trace over. Resumming these interactions with the self-created environment is necessary to give a convergent expansion for observables over all of phase-space.

Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 15, 2020
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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ABSTRACT:

Microscopic quantum interactions between elementary particles control transport in macroscopic states of matter, such as in fluids and plasmas. In numerous states of interest, these microscopic interactions are strong, including in water, among electrons in graphene and in quark-gluon plasma — a state of nuclear matter that filled the early Universe and that is currently being recreated in particle colliders. While macroscopic theories describing the dynamics of such states, in particular, hydrodynamics (of fluids) and magnetohydrodynamics (of magnetized plasmas) have been partially understood, a full description of transport also requires a certain microscopic knowledge of its underlying quantum physics. After more than a century of striking advance in quantum theories, our theoretical understanding of these microscopic processes remains mostly limited to states with weak interactions. Recently, however, string theory also enabled explorations of strongly interacting states through the mathematical statement of holographic duality, which translates otherwise intractable problems into simpler analyses of black holes and gravitational waves.   

In my talk, I will first discuss new aspects of the macroscopic theory of hydrodynamics, focusing on the properties of the infinite series of higher-order corrections to the infamous Navier-Stokes equations. By using a novel concept of generalized global symmetries, which can encode the fact that the number of magnetic flux lines in Nature is conserved, I will then describe the construction of a new, comprehensive theory of magnetohydrodynamics. This reformulation has led to a number of general theoretical and experimental predictions for transport in magnetized plasmas. I will then move on to discuss the microscopic physics responsible for transport in strongly interacting states. Beginning with an introduction of holographic duality, this section will summarize holographic insights into the problem of the “unreasonable effectiveness of hydrodynamics” for the description of quark-gluon plasma. Then, I will discuss how the descriptions of microscopic physics and transport transition between strongly and weakly interacting pictures. Finally, by utilizing the mathematical structure behind our new theory of magnetohydrodynamics, a holographic dual of magnetized plasmas will be presented along with the first analyses of strongly interacting magnetized transport.

Colloquium
Friday, December 6, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"Exploring the Nucleon Sea"


Jen-Chieh Peng , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
[Host: Simonetta Liuti]
ABSTRACT:

Direct experimental evidence for point-like constituents in the nucleons
was first found in the electron deep inelastic scattering (DIS) experiment.
The discovery of the valence and sea quark structures in the nucleons
inspired the formulation of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) as the gauge field
theory governing the strong interaction. A surprisingly large asymmetry
between the up and down sea quark distributions in the nucleon was observed
in DIS and the so-called Drell-Yan experiments. In this talk, I discuss the
current status of our knowledge on the flavor structure of the nucleon sea.
I will also discuss the progress in identifying the "intrinsic" sea
components in the nucleons. Future prospect for detecting some novel
sea-quark distributions will also be presented.

Joint Colloquium with Physics and Astronomy/NRAO


Friday, November 15, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 203
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"Multimessenger astronomy of compact binaries from the vantage point of computational gravity"


Prof. Vasileios Paschalidis , University of Arizona
[Host: Kent Yagi]
ABSTRACT:

We live in an exciting era where strong-field gravity has become a central pillar in the study of astrophysical sources.   For the first time in history the detection of gravitational waves and simultaneous electromagnetic signals (multimessenger astronomy) from the same source have the potential to solve some of the most long-standing problems in fundamental physics and astrophysics. Computational gravity plays an important role in the success of the multimessenger astronomy program. Using the vantage point of computational gravity, in this talk we will we focus on how observations of colliding neutron stars can teach us about the state of matter at densities greater than the nuclear density, and with a critical eye assess what we have learnt so far from the first observation of a binary neutron star (event GW170817). We will also discuss how multimessenger detection of collisions of binary black holes may inform us about their environments andthe nature of black holes.

Colloquium
Friday, November 8, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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ABSTRACT:

Advanced LIGO and Virgo have already detected black holes crashing into each other at least ten times. With their upgrades we anticipate a rate of about 1 gravitational-wave detection per week. More signals and higher precision will take the dream of testing Einstein's theory of gravity, general relativity, and make it a reality. But would we know a correction to Einstein's theory if we saw it? How do we make predictions from theories beyond GR? And do current numerical relativity simulations have enough precision that we could be confident in any potential discrepancy between observations and predictions? I will discuss (i) how to perform simulations in beyond-GR theories of gravity, and (ii) how numerical relativity simulations need to improve to be ready for the precision frontier of gravitational wave astrophysics.

 

Colloquium
Friday, November 1, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"Studying the stars here on earth: Experimental investigations of the nuclear equation-of-state "


Sherry Yennello , Texas A&M University
[Host: Simonetta Liuti]
ABSTRACT:

Heavy-ion collisions can produce nuclear material over a range of densities and proton fractions to study the nuclear equation-of-state. These measurements are enabled by accelerating nuclei to – in some cases – GeV energies and detecting the fragments that are produced from the collisions.  The detectors are multi-detector arrays capable of measuring dozens of particles simultaneously from a single collision.  Data rates can range up to many hundreds of collisions per second. One can either explore the characteristics of the individual fragments that are produced, often extracting particle ratios or double ratios, or correlations between the fragments – in particular transverse collective flow.  From very low density to about three times normal nuclear density measurements have been made of the density dependence of the asymmetry energy.  I will present an overview of how these measurements have been made and the constraints they have set on the nuclear equation-of-state.

Colloquium
Friday, October 25, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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ABSTRACT:

We are in the midst of a second quantum revolution fueled by “quantumness” of physical systems and the sophisticated measurement devices or detectors to produce and characterize these exotic systems. Thus, characterization of quantum states and the detectors is a key task in optical quantum science and technology. The Wigner quasi-probability distribution function provides such a characterization. In this talk, I present our recent results on quantum state tomography of a single-photon Fock state using photon-number-resolving measurements using superconducting transition-edge sensor [1]. We directly probe the negativity of the Wigner function in our raw data without any inference or correction for decoherence, which is also an important indicator of the “quantum-only” nature of a physical system. For the second part of the talk, we discuss a method to characterize quantum detectors by experimentally identifying the Wigner functions of the detector positive-operator-value-measures (POVMs), a set of hermitian operators completely describing the detector [2]. The proposed scheme uses readily available thermal mixtures and probes the Wigner function point-by-point over the entire phase space from the detector’s outcome statistics. In order to make the reconstruction robust to the experimental noise, we use techniques from convex quadratic optimizations.

References
1. R. Nehra, A. Win, M. Eaton, R. Shahrokhshahi, N. Sridhar, T. Gerrits,A. Lita, S. W. Nam, and O. Pfister, “State-independent quantum state tomography by photon-number-resolving measurements,” Optica 6,1356–1360 (2019). 2. R. Nehra and K. Valson Jacob (2019), “Characterizing quantum detectors by Wigner functions,” [arXiv:1909.10628].
 

Colloquium
Friday, October 4, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204

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"Ferroelectric Polarons, Belgian Waffles, and Principles for “Perfect” Semiconductors"


Professor Xiaoyang Zhu , Columbia University
[Host: Seunghun Lee]
ABSTRACT:

Lead halide perovskites have been demonstrated as high performance materials in solar cells and light-emitting devices. These materials are characterized by coherent band transport expected from crystalline semiconductors, but dielectric responses and phonon dynamics typical of liquids.  Here we explain the essential physics in this class of materials based on their dielectric functions and dynamic symmetry breaking on nano scales. We show that the dielectric function in the THz region may lead to dynamic and local ordering of polar nano domains by an extra electron or hole, resulting a quasiparticle which we call a ferroelectric large polaron, a concept similar to solvation in chemistry. Compared to a conventional large polaron, the collective nature of polarization in a ferroelectric large polaron may give rise to order(s)-of-magnitude larger reduction in the Coulomb potential. We show that the shape of a ferroelectric polaron resemble that of a Belgian waffle. Using two-dimensional coherent phonon spectroscopy, we directly probe the energetics and local phonon responses of the ferroelectric large polarons. We find that that electric field from a nascent e-h pair drives the local transition to a hidden ferroelectric order on picosecond time scale.  The ferroelectric or Belgian waffle polarons may explain the defect tolerance and low recombination rates of charge carriers in lead halide perovskites, as well as providing a design principle of the “perfect” semiconductor for optoelectronics.

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