Strength in Numbers: Researchers develop the first-ever quantum device that detects and corrects its own errors

March 4th, 2015

When scientists develop a full quantum computer, the world of computing will undergo a revolution of sophistication, speed and energy efficiency that will make even our beefiest conventional machines seem like Stone Age clunkers by comparison.

But, before that happens, quantum physicists like the ones in UC Santa Barbara’s physics professor John Martinis’ lab will have to create circuitry that takes advantage of the marvelous computing prowess promised by the quantum bit (“qubit”), while compensating for its high vulnerability to environmentally-induced error.

UCSB Press Release

Looking into the Light: Assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering receives a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation

February 26th, 2015

Light: It’s all around us and is an integral part of our daily lives. Yet it continues to surprise us with its distinctive properties, such as how its various wavelengths can be utilized for imaging things invisible to the naked eye, or how it can store and transmit massive amounts of data, or how it can generate energy.

Such beneficial manipulation of light is the purview of Jon Schuller, UC Santa Barbara assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, who has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to study how light interacts with certain materials, particularly those with complex and asymmetric molecular arrangements, such as plastics.

UCSB Press Release

The Body’s Transformers: UCSB researchers examine a shape-shifting protein in the brain to learn more about how form affects function

February 25th, 2015

Like the shape-shifting robots of “Transformers” fame, a unique class of proteins in the human body also has the ability to alter their configuration. These so-named intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) lack a fixed or ordered three-dimensional structure, which can be influenced by exposure to various chemicals and cellular modifications.

A new study by a team of UC Santa Barbara scientists looked at a particular IDP called tau, which plays a critical role in human physiology. Abundant in neurons located in the nervous system, tau stabilizes microtubules, the cytoskeletal elements essential for neuronal functions such as intracellular transport. Lacking a fixed 3-D structure, tau can change shape so that it forms clumps or aggregates, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The researchers’ findings appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UCSB Press Release

David Weld Receives UC President’s Research Catalyst Award

December 10th, 2014

UC Santa Barbara’s David Weld leads a team that has been awarded $300,000 to establish the California Institute for Quantum Emulation. His group is one of five to receive the inaugural President’s Research Catalyst Awards announced today by University of California President Janet Napolitano.

Selected from a pool of almost 200 proposals, the California Institute for Quantum Emulation will mobilize the theoretical and experimental expertise of early-career faculty members at five campuses, enhancing the state’s position as a technological leader and advancing research vital to the development of novel materials. In addition to the President’s Research Catalyst Award funding, the team will receive $50,000 in matching funds from the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) at UCSB.

Weld, who holds the Richard Whited Endowed Chair in Interdisciplinary Science, proposed the institute with colleagues at UCLA, Berkeley, UCSD and UC Irvine in a submission titled “Advancing physics, materials science and computing through quantum emulation.” Quantum emulation uses small collections of ultra-cold atoms, ions and molecules to understand the physical properties of the smallest matter in the universe.

UC Press Room UCSB Press Release Project Abstract

Shuji Nakamura awarded 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

October 7th, 2014

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Shuji Nakamura, professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and two others.

The prize is for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources, and is shared with Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Nagoya University, Japan; and Hiroshi Amono of Nagoya University.

According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, when Nakamura, Akasaki and Amono “produced bright blue light beams from their semiconductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time, but without blue light, white lamps could not be created. Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.”

UCSB Press Release

CSEP alum leads UCSB’s summer science camp for area school children

July 16th, 2014

Dancing around a marshmallow tower they built themselves, the children shouted: “Ten and a quarter! Ten and a quarter!” They marveled that their group’s tower was the tallest, but some of their sheer joy may have been fueled by the marshmallows themselves.

The group constructed the tower as part of UCSB Summer Science Camp, where 8- to 12-year-olds come to get down and dirty in the name of science. Whether learning about bacteria, DNA and density or building gumdrop domes and dissecting squid, participants are having the time of their lives.

“I really like how you learn but you still have a ton of fun,” said Teagan Moehlis, 12, who has been to science camp three times before. “I liked collecting DNA the best. It was supercool!” Teagan is the daughter of Jeff Moehlis, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

UCSB Press Release

Microsoft Makes Bet Quantum Computing Is Next Breakthrough

June 25th, 2014

Modern computers are not unlike the looms of the industrial revolution: They follow programmed instructions to weave intricate patterns. With a loom, you see the result in a cloth or carpet. With a computer, you see it on an electronic display.

Now a group of physicists and computer scientists funded by Microsoft is trying to take the analogy of interwoven threads to what some believe will be the next great leap in computing, so-called quantum computing.

New York Times

New Venture Competition partners with CNSI

June 6th, 2014

CNSI is honored to partner with UCSB’s Technology Management Program to
establish the Elings Prize for Entrepreneurship during the recent New
Venture Competition. Salty Girl Seafood, which aims to create an online
marketplace connecting restaurant chefs with the fishermen who catch the
seafood they serve, won the inaugural Elings Prize. Virgil Elings was on
hand to award the prize.

Award Photos Technology Management Program News

Galen Stucky Receives 2014 Prince of Asturias Award

May 28th, 2014

The CNSI wishes to congratulate Professor Galen Stucky on receiving the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research along with Avelino Corma (Spanish National Research Council) and Mark Davis (CalTech) for their contributions to the development of microporous and mesoporous materials and their applications. The three researchers have made truly remarkable contributions to the design and methods of synthesis of these materials, the study of their properties and the development of their applications in very diverse fields. These include the petrochemical industry, biodegradable plastics and water treatment, improved food quality, new medicines and revolutionary healthcare materials, optoelectronic materials, emission reducing elements and, in short, a broad range of activities in society.

Named after the Crown Prince of Spain, this is the highest scientific recognition in Spain and one of the most coveted Europeans scientific awards.

Congatulations Galen!

Prince of Asturias Award

Fred Wudl is recognized by Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry

May 6th, 2014

UC Santa Barbara’s Fred Wudl, a research professor in chemistry and materials engineering, has received the 2014 Spiers Memorial Award for his many innovative developments in the field of organic electroactive materials and plastic electronics.

The Spiers Memorial Award is presented in recognition of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of a Faraday Discussion. Produced by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for more than 100 years, Faraday Discussions are unique international discussion meetings that focus on rapidly developing areas of physical chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines. All attendees contribute to the discussion, including presenting their own relevant research.

UCSB Press Release