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Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Physics Colloquium: Sophia Economou (Virginia Tech)

February 12, 2016 - 6:30pm

Title: Spins and photons in semiconductor nanostructures

The interest in quantum information processing and related technologies has largely driven spin and photonic research in recent years, especially in the context of condensed matter physics. Nanostructures such as quantum dots and color centers (defects) like the NV center in diamond are intensely investigated with the objective of exploiting both the spin degree of freedom as a carrier of information or sensor as well as the emitted photon as a flying quantum bit of information. I will give a brief overview of this field and present some of our own efforts. I will show that such emitters allow for the deterministic creation of nonclassical photon states and will present our theoretical work on the creation of highly entangled multi-photon states for one-way (measurement-based) quantum computing. Electron-nuclear spin interactions play an important role in many applications based on solid state spins, often as a primary source of decoherence. However, they also give rise to intriguing physics, especially when the electron spin is driven. I will present our microscopic theory of the open, driven electron-nuclear system and show how it can be used to understand the creation of dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) by optical driving of the electron spin, as seen in experiments. These results open up the possibility of engineering and controlling the spin environment.

Sophia Economou, a theoretical physicist working at the interface of condensed matter physics and quantum information science, is an associate professor in the Department of Physics at Virginia Tech since the summer of 2015. Prior to that she was a staff Research Physicist at the Naval Research Lab (2009-2015). She earned her bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Crete in Greece in 2000 and her PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Her interests include spin physics in nanostructures, quantum optics, superconducting qubits, quantum control, and decoherence.

Every Friday 10:45-11:45 a.m., COB 267 (except as noted). Tea and cookies will be served from 10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Questions regarding the seminar series should be directed to Prof. Bin Liu