November 08, 2019
Auditorium Jean-Baptiste CARNOY (B059)
Prof. Vincent MEUNIER
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, USA)
The realization that the world cannot be fully understood using the classical laws of physics led to the first quantum revolution early in the twentieth century. One hundred years after the Nobel Prize awarded to Max Planck for his ground breaking work on the blackbody radiation, a second quantum revolution is now under way. In this revolution, physicists now go beyond using the precepts of quantum mechanics to understand natural phenomena as they now aim at exploiting the rules of quantum mechanics to develop new technologies that are poised to offer unprecedented capabilities, such as quantum computing or quantum cryptography. These developments require a concerted approach where physicists, mathematicians, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers form multidisciplinary teams to tackle fundamental challenges posed by the deployment of these technologies. As a key step in these developments, nanomaterials have proven to be unique precursors and enablers of this revolution.
In this lecture, I will first position the second quantum revolution in the context of the milestones that have enabled the rise of quantum mechanics in the past century. Next, I will use examples from my group’s research in computational nanophysics to illustrate the catalytic role played by the nanoscience revolution over the past 20 years in the advent of quantum technologies. Focusing on nanomaterials, I will describe how the possibility to control matter at the single atomic level has provided an opportunity to “quantum design” systems for targeted purposes. While the focus of the presentation will remain on fundamental physics and materials research, I will discuss how recent progress have opened unique opportunities for novel quantum technologies.