Columbia Quantum Initiative News

The Latest Quantum News at Columbia

A team of researchers from Columbia University, City University of New York, the University of Central Florida (UCF), and Tohoku University and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, have directly observed a rare quantum effect that produces a repeating butterfly-shaped energy spectrum, confirming the longstanding prediction of this quantum fractal energy structure called Hofstadter’s butterfly. The study, which focused on moiré-patterned graphene, is published in the May 15, 2013, Advance Online Publication (AOP) of Nature.

Researchers discover that electrons mimic light in graphene, confirming a 2007 prediction – their finding may enable new low power electronics and lead to new experimental probes.

When it comes to conducting ultrafine research on a nanoscale, even one speck of dust could short out a piece of microelectronics operating at the atomic level.

Researchers at Columbia Engineering, experts at manipulating matter at the nanoscale, have made an important breakthrough in physics and materials science, recently reported in Nature Nanotechnology. Working with colleagues from Princeton and Purdue Universities and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, the team has engineered “artificial graphene” by recreating, for the first time, the electronic structure of graphene in a semiconductor device.

A Columbia University-led international team of researchers has developed a technique to manipulate the electrical conductivity of graphene with compression, bringing the material one step closer to being a viable semiconductor for use in today’s electronic devices.

In a highly interdisciplinary collaboration, researchers across Columbia EngineeringColumbia University Department of Chemistry, Shanghai Normal University, and the University of Copenhagen have upended conventional wisdom, synthesizing the first molecule capable of insulating at the nanometer scale more effectively than a vacuum barrier. 

Experiments track a simple molecule dissociating to find when the reaction can be described with a quantum model and when a semiclassical one will do.

A Columbia University-led team has developed a new method to finely tune adjacent layers of graphene—honeycomb-like, 2D sheets of carbon atoms—to induce superconductivity. Their research provides new insights into the physics underlying this material’s intriguing characteristics. 

Honoree recognized for pioneering contributions to the fields of quantum and nonlinear photonics

Michal Lipson is a pioneer whose seminal research underpins the explosive growth and rapid commercialization of silicon photonics, a technology that uses optical rays to transfer data among computer chips. She spoke with Columbia Engineering about the joy of physics, putting all your eggs in one basket, and young female researchers taking charge of their careers.

Superconductivity, magnetism, and other forms of interacting electron behavior—bilayers of graphene seem to have it all. Researchers are now using this pristine material to unlock the secrets of interacting-electron phenomena with unprecedented control and tunability

Dmitri Basov, Higgins Professor of Physics at Columbia University, has been awarded the Vannever Bush Faculty Fellowship for 2019. The honor, which is one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s most prestigious awards, aims to foster research that probes the limits of today's technologies and has potential for transformative impact.

Researchers from Brown and Columbia Universities have demonstrated previously unknown states of matter that arise in double-layer stacks of graphene, a two-dimensional nanomaterial. These new states, known as the fractional quantum Hall effect, arise from the complex interactions of electrons both within and across graphene layers.

Leaders in the field of ultracold molecule research from Columbia and Harvard Universities are teaming up to propel understanding of the quantum mechanics of chemical reactions. 

Cory Dean, Professor of Condensed Matter Physics, and Timothy Berkelbach, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Quantum materials physicist Cory Dean is quoted in a Science news story about recent work showing superconductivity in trilayer graphene. 

Physics Today covers new research on molecular clocks from Columbia Physicist Tanya Zelevinsky 

Columbia researchers Sebastian Will (Physics), Ana Asenjo-Garcia (Physics), and Nanfang Yu (Applied Physics) have been awarded $2 million for a project aimed at extending the excited state lifetime of atoms.

Using Columbia’s nano facilities, over four hundred researchers have achieved nearly three hundred inventions and patents.

Researchers propose a new approach—using a photonic-chip platform based on silicon nitride—to attain highly entangled photon states, essential to quantum computing and technology

Working together with the Flatiron Institute in New York City and the Max Planck Society in Germany, the University will harness quantum materials for wider applications and technologies.

Columbia researchers invent a new way to tune the properties of 2D materials by adjusting the twist angle between them; technology enables the development of nanoelectromechanical sensors with applications in astronomy, medicine, search and rescue, and more.

Columbia University joins the Flatiron Institute and Germany’s Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science to establish the Max Planck - New York City Center for Nonequilibrium Quantum Phenomena

Physics Today covers advances in magic angle twisted graphene, including work from Columbia Physicist Cory Dean

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of California, San Diego were able to re-purpose techniques from astrophysics to better visualize nano-scale materials instead of galactic scale astronomical phenomena.

A “multi-messenger” approach that was first employed to study astrophysical phenomena such as black hole mergers can also bring insights to the ultra-small realm of quantum physics, says researchers at Columbia University 

Researchers use atomically thin materials—1/100,000 the size of a human hair—to manipulate the phase of light without changing its amplitude, at extremely low power loss; could enable applications such as LIDAR, phased arrays, optical switching, and quantum and optical neural networks

Columbia Chemist David Reichman talks to Quanta Magazine about the mysteries of glass

Physicists Rees McNally and Tanya Zelevinsky from Columbia University, New York, USA, have now published a paper in EPJ D proposing two new methods of looking for such perturbations and, thus, dark matter. 

Dmitri Basov will use the award to develop experimental techniques that could lead to revolutionary applications in electronics, computing energy technology and medical devices.

In a glass, the freedom of atoms to move by quantum tunneling depends on how fast the glass was initially formed.

Columbia University researchers report that they have observed a quantum fluid known as the fractional quantum Hall states (FQHS), one of the most delicate phases of matter, for the first time in a monolayer 2D semiconductor. 

Using sophisticated optical microscopy techniques, Columbia engineers are first to demonstrate that sufficient strain in 2D material can yield single-photon emitters, key to quantum technologies and future photonic circuitry

Columbia Leads Effort to Build a Quantum Simulator  | The project is supported by an NSF Convergence Accelerator award that funds team-based, multidisciplinary initiatives addressing challenges of national importance. 

Twisting a monolayer and a bilayer sheet of graphene into a three-layer structure leads to new quantum mechanical states.

Columbia researchers have successfully re-competed for the highly competitive Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Columbia’s MRSEC, the Center for Precision-Assembled Quantum Materials (PAQM), will receive $18 million over the next six years to support cutting-edge research into new quantum materials, in which clear effects of quantum mechanics emerge in macroscopic systems.

Columbia team discovers 6nm-long single-molecule circuit with enormous on/off ratio due to quantum interference; finding could enable faster, smaller, and more energy-efficient devices

Researchers at Columbia Engineering report today that they have developed the first nanomaterial that demonstrates "photon avalanching," a process that is unrivaled in its combination of extreme nonlinear optical behavior and efficiency. 

Columbia researchers discover a new way to program light on an ultra-small scale

Chien-Shiung Wu’s pioneering work altered the way scientists view the structure of the universe.

The theoretical physicist studying quantum optics joins three other Columbians being recognized for outstanding contributions to their field with a $75,000 Sloan Research Fellowship.

Columbia researchers engineer first technique to exploit the tunable symmetry of 2D materials for nonlinear optical applications, including laser, optical spectroscopy, imaging, and metrology systems, as well as next-generation optical quantum information processing and computing

Cory Dean is quoted in Quanta about new results regarding superconductivity 

Physics World covers a recent Nature publication from the Basov Lab. 

The pair will focus on an emerging field known as “twistronics.”

The research groups of Christine Hendon and Michal Lipson have demonstrated a novel supercontinuum source that provides improved imaging performance.

A series of interactive workshops developed by Columbia physicist Sebastian Will and STEMteachersNYC will give educators tips and tools to cover quantum science in their classrooms.

Spin transition discovered in the Earth’s mantle; finding will improve understanding the Earth’s interior, and enable better understanding of tectonic events including volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

One of 20 early-career researchers selected for the fellowship, Asenjo-Garcia is exploring how light and matter interact at the quantum level.

Columbia theoretical physicists Boris Altshuler & Igor Aleiner have been awarded the 2022 Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society for their foundational work on many-body localization. They share this year's prize with Princeton's David Huse. 

The prize, presented annually since 1995 in memory of Lars Onsager and his passion for analytical results, recognizes outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics. The prize consists of $10,000 as well as a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient. 

In search of the mysterious transition between metallic and insulating states of matter, Columbia researchers find signatures of quantum criticality in a unique material.

Meet Henry Yuen, a computer scientist exploring the boundaries between classical and quantum computers. Yuen joined Columbia Engineering as an assistant professor in January 2021.

The results, published in Nature Electronics, relied on a cleaner technique to manipulate the flow of electricity, giving graphene greater conductivity than metals such as copper and gold, and raising its potential for use in telecommunications systems and quantum computers.

Sebastian Will is quoted in Popular Science about IBM's 127-qubit chip, Eagle. 

Visible-spectrum, compact, power-efficient, low-loss phase modulator is a breakthrough in integrated photonics; the device will improve LIDAR for remote sensing, AR/VR goggles, quantum information processing chips, implantable optogenetic probes, and more.

Using 2D materials, researchers have built superconducting qubits that are a fraction of previous sizes, paving the way for smaller quantum computers.

Columbia engineers invent method that combines quantum mechanics with machine learning to accurately predict oxide reactions at high temperatures when no experimental data is available; could be used to design clean carbon-neutral processes for steel production and metal recycling.

Scientists from Honda Research Institute USA, Inc. (HRI-US) have synthesized atomically thin “nanoribbons” – atomic-scale thickness, ribbon-shaped materials – that have broad implications for the future of quantum electronics, the area of physics dealing with the effects of quantum mechanics on the behavior of electrons in matter.

During the pandemic, a group of Columbia graduate students launched the Physics and Coding Club at Democracy Prep Harlem High School. A year later, they’ve left the virtual world of Zoom to gather in real rooms for the first time. 

Six Columbia Quantum Initiative researchers joined Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researcher list this year. Here, we've compiled some highlights from 2021. 

With 2021 drawing to a close, Columbia physicists note the biggest quantum advances they saw last year and what may be coming as we head into 2022.

A team led by Columbia physicist Abhay Pasupathy sees stripes in samples of twisted double bilayer graphene, indicating the presence of a nematic phase characterized by broken rotational symmetry

The ability to program desired properties into materials will be key for making quantum technologies work in the real world. At the Programmable Quantum Materials Energy Frontiers Research Center, researchers have come together to create quantum effects on demand

An adjustable platform made from atomically thin materials may help researchers figure out how to create a robust quantum condensate that can flow without dissipation

Raquel Queiroz, a new assistant professor at Columbia, is setting her own rules as she explores the science of solid materials.

Abhay Pasupathy explains his recent discovery of a nematic phase in twisted double bilayer graphene to

The theoretical computer scientist will use the award to push the boundaries of quantum information science.

Columbia mourns the loss of Aron Pinczuk, Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Physics. He passed away on February 13, 2022.

The theoretical computer scientist joins four other Columbians being recognized for outstanding contributions to their field with a $75,000 Sloan Research Fellowship.

Dmitri Basov presents his work on nanolight and quantum materials at the Simons Foundation President Lecture Series.

Check out 10 notable papers from Columbia’s Programmable Quantum Materials Energy Frontier Research Center

Columbia chemists contribute to a ground-up approach to designing customizable qubits.

Boris Altshuler and Igor Aleiner share the American Physical Society’s Lars Onsager Prize with Princeton’s David Huse for their foundational work on many-body localization.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled a list of the women on the leading edge of quantum science at Columbia.


Before he left for the Quantum Information Processing meeting, we asked Mousavi about combining quantum mechanics with computer science and how endurance sports help keep his mind fit.

It’s a significant step in understanding these whirling quasiparticles and putting them to work in future semiconductor technologies.

Researchers at Columbia and Google Quantum AI have developed an algorithm that uses the most quantum bits to date to calculate ground state energy, the lowest-energy state in a quantum mechanical system. The discovery could help make it easier to design new materials.

IEEE Spectrum covers a new hybrid quantum-classical approach from Columbia chemists David Reichman and Joonho Lee that could help avoid issues with noise in quantum circuits.

Columbia Engineers Cheng Tan and James Hone help colleagues from ICFO bend electrons in graphene with a little light. 

Lights! Camera! Quantum! The theoretical quantum physicist by day and actor by night explains how she blends science and art.

A new paper observing the topologically non-trivial drumhead state emerging from nodal-line semimetals offers new insights into how these newly discovered states behave in real materials.

Columbia Engineers Song Liu and James Hone help colleagues at MIT engineer ferroelectricity 

Degree program will combine education in quantum fundamentals with hands-on experience in quantum research labs.

When it comes to superconductivity, three layers of graphene can be better than two. A new study from Columbia physicists reveals the atomic details that help explain why.

Students learn about the rapidly advancing research field and work with real quantum computing hardware and software. 

For Earth Day, learn about how science at its smallest scale is applied to the depths of our planet.

Together, the two directives lay the groundwork for continued American leadership in an enormously promising field of science and technology, while mitigating the risks that quantum computers pose to America’s national and economic security.

Study describes new mechanism for lowering thermal conductivity to aid search for materials that convert heat to electricity or electricity to heat

For International Day of Light, meet some of the faculty who are continuing the university’s long legacy of light research.

The recipient of the 2022 Couillaud Prize is back in New York and has her sights set on building a super tiny new laser to advance quantum optics research.

Calculations from Ana Asenjo-Garcia and Stuart Masson reveal that any atom array is capable of bursting—a sign that atoms are syncing up.

The theoretical physicist is recognized for her work on light-matter interactions in ultracold atoms.

Columbia chemists and physicists find a link between tunable electronic and magnetic properties in a 2D semiconductor, with potential applications in spintronics, quantum computing, and fundamental research.

As he graduates, the Physics and Math double major reflects on his time at Columbia and research experiences in a quantum lab.

The experimental physicist uses quantum control of molecules to study fundamental science.

One of four mid-career researchers selected, Zelevinsky will use the $2 million award to advance the use of molecules to study fundamental science.

The professor of chemistry, who studies quantum dynamics, phenomenology, and condensed-phase quantum chemistry, is one of 83 scientists from across the nation to receive funding for research as part of the DOE Office of Science’s Early Career Research Program.

An old machine shop in Pupin Hall has a new life as a makerspace for scientists to imagine the future of physics.

Columbia welcomes its first participants in the postdoctoral program to New York this year. Here, they discuss their careers and interests in quantum phenomena in two-dimensional materials. 

The professor of mathematics works at the interface of probability and mathematical physics with a particular interest in exactly solvable probabilistic models and stochastic partial differential equations. Much of his work has focused around the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang equation and its universality class.

The assistant professor of chemistry, who studies coherent imaging and control of quasiparticle interactions, is one of ten researchers selected to receive $6M in total science funding for cutting-edge research.

A new study from researchers at Columbia University suggests carbon molecules can be laser-cooled to ultracold temperatures, raising the possibility of studying the fundamental properties of these molecular building blocks.

Using a time lens, Columbia Engineers resolve single photons 70x faster than other techniques, another step towards advancing quantum information processing.

Now a visiting fellow at the SIPA’s Center on Global Energy Policy, this Columbia alum offers insights from his time at the Department of Energy about taking quantum science from the lab to the real world.

The project, entitled “Topological Quantum Architectures Through DNA Programmable Molecular Lithography,” will span three years. U of M School of Physics and Astronomy Associate Professor Vlad Pribiag is collaborating with Columbia University Professor Oleg Gang, whose lab will handle the DNA nanoassembly part of the work.

Three computer scientists have posted a proof of the NLTS conjecture, showing that systems of entangled particles can remain difficult to analyze even away from extremes. Columbia Computer Scientist Henry Yuen comments. 

A team at Columbia University and the National University of Singapore finds a simple new way to describe the water-like movement of electrons in a novel type of semiconductor, which could pave the way for more efficient electronics.

The physical chemist at Columbia and recent recipient of a Beckman Young Investigator Award builds instruments to image quantum particles as they move. 

Through a NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program with Columbia’s Materials Research and Science Engineering Center on Precision-Assembled Quantum Materials, a visiting physics student spends time doing lab work on campus.

In exploring a family of two-dimensional crystals, a husband-and-wife team is uncovering a potent variety of new electron behaviors.

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, Columbia University, and Harvard University detailed a new mechanism for the formation of magnetic moments in which the quantum confinement of electrons in clusters splits their electronic structures into distinct subshells with different spin directions and number of available orbitals. 

Columbia theoretical physicist Andrew Millis and collaborators at the University of Michigan explore electron pairing in high-temperature superconductors. 

Researchers at Columbia University and Politecnico di Milano have used an atomically thin material to build a device that can change the color of laser beams. Their microscopic device—a fraction of the size of conventional color converters—may yield new kinds of ultra-small optical circuit chips and advance quantum optics.

This GS’23 student did research in a quantum lab in Colorado for her summer internship.

The U.S. Department of Energy renews Columbia’s Energy Frontier Research Center with a four-year $12.6 million grant.

A new bidimensional semiconductor shows the highest nonlinear optical efficiency over nanometer thicknesses.

Research shows that spinning quasiparticles, or magnons, light up when paired with a light-emitting quasiparticle, or exciton, with potential quantum information applications.

Columbia's David Albert reviews Physics, Structure, and Reality by Jill North

Columbia SIPA Fellow Paul Dabbar and IBM's Darío Gill share their thoughts on the CHIPS Act and its potential impact on quantum technology. 

Bae, a postdoc working in the lab of Professor Xiaoyang Zhu, shares her journey to Columbia and what went into her recent Nature paper.

In collaboration with the Flatiron Institute, Matija Medvidović and Andrew Millis help train a machine learning tool to capture the physics of electrons moving on a lattice using far fewer equations than would typically be required, all without sacrificing accuracy.

John F. Clauser, who received his PhD from Columbia University in 1969, was one of three scientists awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday.

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