2015 March Meeting in San Antonio

Rise of the Colloidal Machines

Sharon Glotzer

Sharon Glotzer of the University of Michigan describes a futuristic world in which robot-like machines are built with colloidal particles.

Talks given at the 2014 March Meeting in Denver

Quantum Life

Seth Lloyd

Seth Lloyd of MIT explains how quantum coherence allows plants and other photosynthetic organisms to transport energy efficiently.

Talks given at the 2013 March Meeting in Baltimore

Why Condensed Matter Physicists Should Pay Attention to Atomic Physics

William Phillips

William Phillips of the Joint Quantum Institute describes the many ways that trapped atoms are being used to understand the physics of solids.

Talks given at the 2012 March Meeting in Boston

Spin Caloritronics

Gerrit E. W. Bauer

Gerrit Bauer gives an overview of how spin caloritronics—the study of the electron spin's role in heat currents in magnetic materials—provides new functionalities and increases the efficiency of existing thermoelectric technology.


Raymond Goldstein

Raymond Goldstein describes the fascinating behavior of microorganisms, such as synchronized swimming and multicellular movement that is driven by light.

The Science of Invisibility

John Pendry

John Pendry tells us how manipulating Maxwell's equations using transformation optics allows us to channel and direct light as if it were a fluid, which could lead to applications that include the creation of a cloak of invisibility.

Talks given at 2011 March Meeting in Dallas, Texas

Topological Insulators

Joel Moore

In condensed matter physics, complex order often emerges from simple interactions. Recent experiments show that topological order, previously seen only in 2D electron systems in high magnetic field, can exist in zero field and even in bulk 3D materials called topological insulators, in which spin-orbit coupling induces the topological order. Topologically ordered phases can support new kinds of emergent particles, such as the Majorana fermion. Current experiments in condensed matter, in both fractional quantum Hall systems and strong spin-orbit materials, are probing the physics of Majorana fermions, which may eventually enable a topological approach to quantum computing.

Solid-State Quantum Computers

Daniel Loss

I review the theoretical concepts for spin qubits and scalable quantum computers in nanostructures and highlight the experimental progress in this fast moving field [1]. I describe the standard model of quantum computing and the basic criteria for its potential realization in solid state systems such as GaAs heterostructures, carbon nanotubes, InAs or SiGe nanowires, etc. Other alternative formulations such as measurement-based and adiabatic quantum computing are mentioned briefly. I then focus on qubits formed by individual electron spins in single and double GaAs quantum dots. Introducing the problem of decoherence arising from spin orbit and hyperfine interactions, I discuss ways to overcome it, such as state narrowing and nuclear magnetism induced by strong correlations [2].
[1] R. Zak, B. Röhlisberger, S. Chesi, and D. Loss, Rivista del Nuovo Cimento 033, 345 (2010).
[2] B. Braunecker, P. Simon, and D. Loss, Phys. Rev. B 80, 165119 (2009).


Michael S. Fuhrer

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov for their experiments on graphene, a single-atom plane of graphite. I will discuss why graphene has generated such excitement in condensed matter physics. Graphene is different: graphene's electrons mimic massless Dirac fermions. But graphene is also amazingly tunable: Band gaps can be generated by nanostructuring. Interactions can be tuned by the surrounding dielectric. Strain generates effective "pseudomagnetic'' fields up to 300 tesla. The work function can be tuned over a large range. Such tunability promises that graphene will remain interesting as a laboratory for condensed matter physics.

Talks given at 2010 March Meeting in Portland, Oregon

Optomechanical Devices

Florian Marquardt

The interplay of light and mechanical motion on the nanoscale has emerged as a very fruitful research topic during the past few years. Optomechanical systems are now explored as ultrasensitive force and displacement sensors. By using light to cool a mechanical system to its quantum ground state, researchers hope to explore the foundations of quantum mechanics in a new regime.


David Awschalom

The spin-orbit interaction in the solid state offers several versatile all-electrical routes for generating, manipulating, and routing spin-polarized charge currents in semiconductors. Recent experiments have explored several guises of this effect for the nascent field of spintronics. These include new opportunities for making the transition from fundamental studies to a spin-based technology for classical and quantum information processing.

Iron-Age Superconductors

Michael Norman

A new class of high-temperature superconductors has been discovered in layered iron arsenides. In these materials, magnetism and superconductivity appear to be intimately related. small-12 columnss in this rapidly moving field may shed light on the still unsolved problem of high-temperature cuprate superconductivity.