A new assistant professor of physics at the University of Pittsburgh has won the 2015 Michelson Postdoctoral Prize for his work exploring how to make and control quantum electrodynamic systems.
The prize is given annually by the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University to an outstanding junior scholar active in any field of physics.
Michael Hartridge, who earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and did his postdoctoral work at Yale, makes qubits--the analogue for bits used in traditional computing--from superconducting materials that work at microwave frequencies.
"This is stuff you'd make cell phones with, translated to the quantum regime," Hartridge said. "But instead of building these circuits from a million atoms, we're building them from one atom up, which may provide access and control we haven't had before."
In the quantum regime, only quantum mechanics, the branch of physics that governs how matter and energy on the scale of atoms and electrons behave and interact, can be used to describe and analyze what takes place.
"We're using this quantum information to figure out and harness the rules of quantum mechanics, and to see what's possible," Hartridge said.
Hartridge will discuss some of his recent experimental work in a public colloquium titled "Remote Entanglement in superconducting quantum information," Thursday in Rockefeller Hall Room 301 on the Case Western Reserve campus.
Prior to his qubits research, Hartridge investigated how superconducting devices can be applied to low-field magnetic resonance imaging. He will discuss that work in a seminar for faculty and students Friday.
The Michelson Postdoctoral Prize was established by physics professors Lawrence Krauss and Glenn Starkman in 1997 and has become one of the premier awards for young PhD's in physics nationally. The prizewinner spends one week in residence at Case Western Reserve.