Virtual Department Colloquium: Tues March 31, 2020 - Physics, Materials Science and Engineering of Exotic Quantum Circuits

Event Date: 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 3:45pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Zoom



Physics, Materials Science and Engineering of Exotic Quantum Circuits


Sergey Frolov, University of Pittsburgh


With Quantum Supremacy upon us, and with major tech companies investing in quantum computing, one may wonder how much room is left there for academic research? The answer is: more than ever! Our existing qubits are great, but it is difficult to see them carrying us beyond the modern era of noisy intermediate-scale quantum processors, and ushering in the truly scalable, fault tolerant and commercially viable computers. Most likely, a qubit and its couplings, gates will once more need to be re-thought from the ground up - from the atomic first-principles level to the device architecture level. At the same time, the progress we made in quantum control and engineering is so huge that these methods have themselves become mature tools of science. They can be applied beyond quantum computing - to understand the basic questions of quantum dynamics and to probe exotic matter. 


My research is at the intersection of the practical quantum computing and studying new quantum phenomena. One example is the quest for topological superconductivity. This is an interesting state most notable for spurring Majorana zero modes. Those modes can be both investigated as some of the first non-Abelian excitations, and they can be used in quantum circuits for storing and protecting quantum information. Majorana research has posed many basic materials questions of how to engineer the precise structures that possess intrinsic fault tolerance through topological protection. In my work I have developed new materials and devices for unambiguous observation of robust Majorana modes. I have worked on establishing clear criteria (signatures) of Majorana modes and how to tell them apart from other excitations that may be present in the same devices.


This search is taking us on a journey to consider a multiverse of approaches starting with conventional metals and semiconductors, and on to magnetic materials, van der Waals heterostructures, quantum Hall states, exotic superconductors, spin liquids, Dirac/Weyl semimetals. It is exciting to apply modern quantum probes, developed based on transmon and spin qubits, to these systems in search for new exotic quantum matter. And perhaps solving some of the big challenges facing quantum computing at the same time.