Research Activities

Room Temperature Quantum Technologies

Quantum theory is one of the most compelling theories to describe nature at atomic scales. One of the most challenging questions associated with quantum mechanics is why we do not observe effects such as quantum superpositions or entanglement in ambient environments at large scales. Extensions of quantum mechanics have been developed to describe the mechanisms which can destroy the “quantumness” of large objects. However exploring this regime of physics requires extraordinary isolation of these large quantum objects from surrounding ambient environments. What emerges when laws of atoms start to dominate over the physics of large objects? Does quantum theory need to be altered to include a transition to classical laws or is there a breakdown at macroscopic scales? In this research we aim to answer these question by nano-designing glassy suspended films on a microchip which can manipulate photons (light) & phonons (sound) simultaneously. These platforms form a promising technology towards the prospects of quantum networks & sensors operating at room temperature. 

Superconducting Casimir Experiments

Several experimental demonstrations of the Casimir force between two closely-spaced bodies have been realized over the past two decades. Extending the theory to incorporate the behavior of the force between two superconducting plates across their superconducting transition has resulted in many competing predictions. It is clear from these theories that the Casimir effect will be a powerful tool for probing the underlying quantum physics of superconductors on a collective scale (at all frequencies). Experts predict that measuring the Casimir effect between superconductors could allow us to convincingly distinguish between competing theories like the Drude and plasma models as appropriate descriptions of electrons in metals; a major debate in the physics community. Yet, some theories speculate that superconducting Casimir experiments could manifest one of the few testable quantum gravity effects available with current technology. It has widely been postulated that quantum gravity effects are usually so infinitesimal that no conceivable future technology could ever physically measure their existence (as many of the required detectors are calculated to themselves collapse into black holes). To date, no one knows exactly what one should expect to see in the Casimir effect as objects transition into their superconducting state. Our experiments will probe a regime where two famous quantum effects coalesce, where theories with big implications for physics exists and where little experimental data is available due to technological hurdles. We aim to circumvent the need for highly-complex precision experiments by reducing the challenge of stabilization and parallelism to novel microchip design.  

Nanofabricating at Extreme-Aspect-Ratios

One of the major aims of nanotechnology is to miniaturize sensors, cameras, and general technology in all dimensions (i.e. x, y and z). In our group, one of the focuses is on unique nanotechnologies that require extreme aspect-ratios. Can we develop techniques to fabricate meter by meter sails with nanometers thickness for future space missions? Can we measure the small nuances of gravity with milligram masses suspended from nanoscale tethers? In our lab we develop techniques that allows such experiments to become a reality by looking at the physics of nano-fabrication.

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