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Assistant Professor of Physics - Quantum Materials and Technologies
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
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Equate News

Wei Bao in his lab.
New device gets scientists closer to quantum materials breakthrough

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new photonic device that could get scientists closer to the “holy grail” of finding the global minimum of mathematical formulations at room temperature. Finding that elusive mathematical value would be a major advancement in opening new options for simulations involving quantum materials. Wei Bao is the corresponding author of a paper reporting this research, published in Nature Materials. (6/17/22)

Graphic representation showing how hyperbolic shear polaritons are coupled with light-matter waves.
Schubert’s idea grows into discovery of new material class

A study published six years ago by Mathias Schubert planted the seeds for what grew into an international collaboration and the discovery of a new material class that could impact the future of emerging biotechnology and nanotechnology. Schubert and his colleagues had their latest paper, Hyperbolic shear polaritons in low-symmetry crystals, published in Nature. The group believes their results “will motivate new directions for polariton physics … greatly expanding the material base and extending design opportunities for compact photonic devices.”

A nanoscale rendering of two materials, graphene (gray) and chromium oxide (blue), that collectively allowed researchers from Nebraska and Buffalo to fabricate a new type of transistor.
Nebraska, Buffalo researchers create first magneto-electric transistor

Christian Binek, Peter Dowben, Will Echtenkamp, Ather Mahmood, and colleagues from the University at Buffalo have teamed up to fabricate a new type of transistor that could curb energy consumption of microelectronics and reduce the number of transistors needed to store certain data by as much as 75%. This new transistor could cut 5 percent from the world's digital energy budget while also saving space and retaining memory in the event of a power loss.

Christos Argyropoulos.
Argyropoulos paper featured on cover of Nanoscale

Christos Argyropoulos and graduate students Boyuan Jin and Dhananjay Mishra published an article titled ‘‘Efficient Single-Photon Pair Generation by Spontaneous Parametric Down-Conversion in Nonlinear Plasmonic Metasurfaces” in the journal Nanoscale. Journal editors selected the paper to be featured on the cover, an honor given to the best papers of each issue.

Wei Bao in his lab.
Bao's CAREER Award supports work to make quantum simulators function at room temperature

Quantum simulators are key tools in the study of quantum systems, but their use is limited because they must operate with bulky ultra-low-temperature vacuum systems beyond the capacity of many research labs. With a five-year, $756,713 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, Wei Bao hopes to find a way to make those simulators function at room temperature; this would greatly expand the scope and accessibility of work with quantum simulators.

Image of Ralph Skomskii on a black groundground, with white text stating his name and year of birth and death (1961-2022).
Mourning the death of Ralph Skomski

Dr. Ralph Skomski suddenly passed away at home on April 10. Skomski was a gifted theoretical researcher, publishing over 425 papers, books, and book chapters in his career. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Editorial Boards of IEEE Magn. Lett., J. Phys. D and J. Magn. Magn. Mater. Skomski began working at UNL as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 1998. He was promoted to Research Assistant Professor in 2000, Research Associate Professor in 2003, and Research Full Professor in 2012. He was an active researcher working for many years with Professor David Sellmyer. (4/19/22)

2022 Nebraska Research and Innovation Conference (NRIC) event is April 14 at Lincoln's Embassy Suites hotel. Sessions' topics focus on Commercializing Quantum Science in Nebraska.
2022 NRIC Event Focuses on Commercializing Quantum Science in Nebraska

Nebraska EPSCoR is sponsoring its annual Nebraska Research and Innovation Conference (NRIC) to provide our research community the opportunity to elevate their work with expert speaker sessions plus networking during lunch and a poster session. The 2022 NRIC theme is Commercializing Quantum Technologies in Nebraska: From Research To Licensing.

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Young Nebraska Scientists celebrate an achievement with a group high-five during a Summer 2021 camp at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Applications open for Young Nebraska Scientists programs

Applications are open for Young Nebraska Scientists (YNS) summer programs throughout the state in 2022, including day camps for middle school students and residential or virtual camps for high school students. Visit for more information and to apply. Applications are due by May 1.

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Xia Hong.
Second "Nano Matters" podcast interview of Xia Hong released

In this episode of the “Nano Matters” podcast, Xia Hong, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, describes how she and her team are creating and studying complex oxide nanostructures and interfaces for advanced electronics.

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EQUATE leaders.
New data-decoding approach could lead to faster, smaller digital tech

Evgeny Tsymbal, Ding-Fu Shao and their colleagues have charged to the forefront of spintronics, a next-gen class of data storage and processing poised to complement the digital electronics that have ruled the realm of high tech for decades. Ahead of that future, though, loom nanoscale obstacles whose size belies their difficulty. With the wind of a $20 million National Science Foundation grant at their back, the physicists may be on their way to surmounting an especially tricky one: finding order amid disorder and data amid seeming disarray. Beyond that obstacle lie two prizes, density and speed, that could make modern-day devices look gluttonous and sloth-like in hindsight.

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EQUATE leaders.
2020-2021 Nebraska Research Report: Advancing the Second Quantum Revolution

A five-year, $20 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research is positioning the University of Nebraska and partnering institutions to lead a second quantum revolution. It creates the Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies collaboration, a research and education cluster to boost the state’s capacity and competitiveness in the field. A Research Infrastructure Improvement-Track 1 award supports the project.

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Christian Binek standing in a lab surrounded by research equipment.
Binek to present at Sigma Xi's Science Cafe at UNK on 1/31

Christian Binek's presentation introduces and highlights the peculiarities of the second quantum revolution by contrasting it with the more familiar first quantum revolution, which gave rise to much of today’s high-technology. The presenter will provide examples for the theory-guided search, fabrication and characterization of emergent quantum materials and show how they enable quantum technologies with applications in sensing, communication, medicine, banking and national security. He will also highlight the specific role Nebraska’s EQUATE center plays in this global megatrend, which includes the race for quantum supremacy of future quantum computers.

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Nebraska EPSCoR logo.
EQUATE enables second 2021 cohort of Nebraska EPSCoR FIRST Award recipients

In 2021, Nebraska EPSCoR was able to support two cohorts of FIRST Award recipients—one set funded in January by the NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement programs’ Track-1 Center for Root and Rhizobiome Innovation (CRRI), and another group in November that was funded by Nebraska’s new Track-1 Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies, “EQUATE.”

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Siamak Nejati on left and Yanan (Laura) Wang on right.
EQUATE Awards SEED Grants

In October 2021, two Nebraska scientists were awarded SEED grants from the EQUATE project to study quantum topics in their research. Funding of $56,000 for each selected topic comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) via Nebraska’s NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 project, “Emergent Quantum Materials and Technologies (EQUATE)".

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Visual graphic of a quantum
NSF advances Nebraska's quantum research capabilities

The National Science Foundation is advancing quantum research through an investment of $20 million, over five years, to Nebraska through NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research... José Colom-Ustáriz, an NSF EPSCoR program director said, "This project furthers Nebraska’s strategic priority to advance knowledge in quantum phenomena. It has the potential to benefit society through research outcomes, workforce development and STEM education and training, specifically in Native American and rural communities." "

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Binary code
'Silicon Prairie' Ready for Quantum Leap

"The National Science Foundation is betting on the Cornhusker State to help lead a high-stakes era of innovation as America gets ready for next-generation computer and security technology."

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Group photo of the EQUATE leaders
Nebraska research collaborative to study quantum materials through $20M grant

"Through a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research — better known as EPSCoR — a total of 20 researchers and educators will work to push the field of quantum materials forward."

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