Wednesday, March 05, 2014

March Meeting, Day 2

This is a meta-post - I'm writing it while sitting in the back of a session on presenting science to the public.  A brief list of some of the neat things I heard yesterday:
  • I saw a very nice talk by Jelena Vuckovic about doing nonlinear and cavity optics, with (self-assembled InAs) quantum dots as the emitters, and the cavity being formed in 2d photonic band gap systems.  The latest work looks at nonlinear effects like photon blockade, and makes contact to some work involving "circuit" quantum electrodynamics (see here).
  • I went to a talk by Ken Golden, who taught me sophomore differential equations, and he gave a fascinating presentation about applying rigorous math (percolation theory, treating microstructured composites like effective media) to the challenging problem of understanding melting polar sea ice.  As a side note, he showed a great picture that is an example of the "quasistatic limit" - long wavelength surface ocean waves don't "see" individual ice floes, but instead propagate in an effective medium.
  • There was a great invited session about oxide heterostructures.  Mobilities are improving (under the right conditions) to the point where some ways of learning about the band structure through electronic transport are now becoming possible.  Very impressive was a talk by Shahal Ilani, where he presented a very compelling view of the importance of structural domains ("ferroelasticity") in the underlying strontium titanate - when those domains are under control, transport becomes much more clean, revealing the apparent existence of a magnetically interesting phase at high carrier density and high in-plane magnetic field.

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