Sep
04
Teaser:

Entanglement has recently emerged as an important conceptual tool in quantum many-body physics.  I will explain why we care about entanglement in quantum matter and why we are interested in the physics of highly ntangled quantum states.  I will also show how entanglement has led us to new phases of matter, new ways to characterize phases and phase transitions, novel numerical techniques, and useful conceptual advances. I will conclude with a discussion of the prospects for measuring...

Sep
03
Teaser:

Using force spectroscopy mode of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) one can measure physiologically relevant pN forces between an AFM tip and a biomolecule with a mean displacement resolution of about 0.1 nm. The last 15 years have witnessed an explosion of interest in single molecule force spectroscopy fueled by: 1) new possibilities to advance in protein folding, 2) possibilities to elucidate molecular mechanisms of various cellular processes, and diseases, and 3) efforts to understand...

Aug
28
Teaser:

I discuss "simple" dynamical systems on networks and examine how network structure affects dynamics of processes running on top of networks.  I consider results based on "locally tree-like" and/or mean-field and pair approximations and examine when they seem to work well, what can cause them to fail, and when they seem to produce accurate results even though their hypotheses are violated fantastically.  I'll also present a new model for multi-stage complex contagions--in which fanatics produce greater influence than mere followers--and examine dynamics on networks with hetergeneous...

Aug
21
Teaser:

Well-controlled experiments in pipe flow began at least as early as those by Reynolds himself (1883).  Forming a model for transition to turbulence, however, has taken a long time to develop.  The first nonlinear solutions to the equations governing fluid flow in a pipe were discovered only 10 years ago (Faisst and Eckhardt 2003), but since this time our understanding of the underlying nonlinear dynamics has developed thick and fast.  I begin by reviewing some of the progress that followed the discovery of travelling wave solutions.  For the future, it will be...

Jul
09
Teaser:

DNA coils undergo  striking conformational transitions when it is confined to volumes with dimensions smaller than one of the characteristic lengths of the molecule.  We are particularly interested in confinement to channels less than two persistence length wide, and hundreds of microns long.  In these channels, DNA extends to 50 % of its contour length and more, thus establishing a clear connection between location and the linear "genetic address" expressed in base pairs. We can fabricate nanochannel systems with arbitrary configurations in two dimensions using fused silica, and thus are...

Jun
25
Teaser:

Characterization of the mechanical properties of cells, as well as the tissues and extracellular matrices (ECM) in which they reside, requires microscale manipulation platforms that allow precise measurement of their local rheology. To achieve this, my laboratory has developed a suite of NdFeB-based magnetic tweezers devices optimized for biomaterials characterization. In this talk, I will present the design and construction of three new microscope-mounted magnetic tweezers devices that allow controlled forces to be applied locally to networks, cells, and tissues while their deformation is...

May
24
Teaser:

Textbooks on colloidal phenomena teach us to describe the electrostatic and dispersion interactions at interfaces using single parameters (Hamaker constants, surface potentials or charge densities), an approach which treats surface as uniform. Real surfaces, be they mineral, polymeric, or biological, present heterogeneous surface chemistry that complicates their interactions.  It is recognized that clustered rather than uniform presentation of attractive chemistries, for instance peptide sequences, enhances biological interactions.  Likewise, heterogeneity in charge and acid-base...

May
07
Teaser:

We will present a simple non-relativistic model to describe the low energy excitations of graphene. Our model is based on a deformation of the Heisen-
berg algebra in such a way that the commutator of momenta is proportional to the pseudo-spin. We solve the Landau problem for the resulting Hamil-
tonian, which reduces in the large mass limit, while keeping constant the Fermi velocity, to the usual linear one employed to describe these excitations
as massless Dirac fermions. Extending this model to negative mass we re-produce the leading mass term in the low energy expansion of...

Apr
30
Teaser:

One of the long term challenges in human health and disease is the control of pathogens, such as antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria. In this talk, we will briefly describe two directions where soft condensed matter physics based approaches have been useful.

Apr
29
Teaser:

Recently, there is revived interest in non-equilibrium dynamics of the nuclear spins partially due to the decoherence issue of the electron spin qubit in semiconductor quantum dots for quantum computation. In this talk, I will first introduce a microscopic theory for the non-equilibrium nuclear spin dynamics controlled by a closed feedback loop mediated by the electron and/or the hole under continuous wave pumping in a quantum dot [W. Yang and L. J. Sham, Phy. Rev. B 85, 235319(2012)], and then present a study on the nuclear-spin-fluctuation induced spin decoherence of an electron (SDE) in an optically pumped quantum dot....

Apr
25
Teaser:

Cosmic rays are predominantly nuclei, in particular protons.  However, the less abundant cosmic-ray electrons and positrons are also important probes of open questions in astrophysics and particle physics.  The Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope, designed to study the high-energy universe with gamma rays, is also an excellent electron and positron detector.  Ground-based imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes have also measured cosmic-ray electrons and positrons up to several TeV.  PAMELA, Fermi, and AMS have discovered a surprising excess of positrons between 10 GeV and 350 GeV.  I will describe these measurements and their...

Apr
25
Teaser:

Atoms in optical lattices are very versatile experimental systems. They can be used to study many-body quantum physics, to aid
precision measurements and tests of fundamental symmetries, and for quantum computation. I will describe ongoing efforts along these lines
in my research group.

Apr
24
Teaser:

Most organisms live in aqueous environments and propel themselves by swimming. A large subclass is micro-organisms that have slender rod-like shapes, e.g. sperm. These organisms propel themselves using undulations that follow certain waveforms depending on the type of desired...

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