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About May 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Physics Announcements in May 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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May 2012 Archives

May 2, 2012

Seminar: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Quantum Knots and Quantum Braids
Professor Samuel J. Lomonaco

In this talk, we show how to reconstruct knot theory in such a way that it is intimately related to quantum physics. In particular, we give a blueprint for creating a quantum system that has the dynamic behavior of a closed knotted piece of rope moving in 3-space. Within this framework, knot invariants become physically measurable quantum observables, knot moves become unitary transformations, with knot dynamics determined by Schroedinger's equation. The same approach can also be applied to the theory of braids.

Toward the end of the talk, we briefly look at possible applications to superfluid vortices and to topological quantum computing in optical lattices.

Location: Physics Bldg., Room 401

May 9, 2012

Seminar: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Joseph F. Mulligan Lecture
The Life and Work of Nikola Tesla
Erika Nesvold

Nikola Tesla was a man of contradictions. He specialized in dramatic public demonstrations of his work, but led a largely solitary and very private personal life. He was a prolific inventor, an intuitive engineer, and a brilliant physicist, but was tormented by mental illness in the later years of his life. Despite personal setbacks and professional conflicts, Tesla was a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and invented many of the devices we use today, including the alternating current induction motor, the remote control, and radio communication. He did early work with x-rays, robotics, and fluorescent lights. For this year’s Mulligan Lecture, I will present a brief overview of Nikola Tesla’s biography and discuss some of his most important discoveries and inventions.

Location: Physics Bldg., Room 401

May 15, 2012

PhD Defense - Junlin Liang

Junlin successfully defended her PhD dissertation on May 15, 2012.

An Experimental Study of Nonclassical Effects in Two-photon Interferometry

Two-photon interferometry is a relatively new field with applications ranging from precise measurements of optical phase shifts to fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. In contrast to conventional single-photon interferometry, two-photon interferometry typically involves measuring correlations between two detectors placed in two output ports of an interferometer. Of particular interest is two-photon interferometry with entangled photon pairs, in which case it is often possible to observe effects that are not possible with classical fields. Because these entanglement effects are becoming increasingly important in Quantum Information Processing (QIP) applications, there is currently a strong need for further exploration of new ideas, basic physics, and experimental techniques of two-photon interferometry.

In this defense, I will report the results of three new two-photon interferometry experiments using entangled photon pairs produced by a Type-I Parametric Down-Conversion (PDC) source. In the first experiment, we demonstrate a new technique for compensating for two-photon interferometer beamsplitter asymmetries by manipulating the polarization degree of freedom in the system. Roughly speaking, projective polarization measurements are used to re-balance the magnitude of various two-photon amplitudes that were made distinguishable by non-ideal refection and transmission coefficients of a key beamsplitter. In the second experiment, we utilize a short coherence-length continuous-wave (CW) PDC pump laser to explore two-photon interferometry in a new intermediate regime between the more familiar extremal cases which use either a long coherence-length CW pump or an ultra-short pulsed pump laser. These results provide new insight into the role of PDC pump coherence in two-photon interferometry. Finally, we use two-photon interferometry to experimentally investigate "entangled photon holes", which is a new form of entanglement that arises from the correlated absence of photon pairs in an otherwise constant background. By using vastly unbalanced interferometers and well-defined timing, we observe nonclassical correlations due to "time-bin" entangled photon-hole states.