Department of Physics

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Colloquia & Seminars, Fall 2019

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The Future of Computation: Unleashing the Power of Quantum Computers

Speaker: Professor Peter Orth
Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
Time: 4pm
Room:  Currens hall 205

Abstract: The prospects of constructing a quantum computer, which is a computer that operates according to the laws of quantum mechanics, are tantalizing. Such a machine is expected to solve a number of important problems much faster than any classical computer. One important example is the factoring of large integers into their prime factors using Shor's quantum algorithm, which could be used to break commonly used cryptography schemes. The past few years have brought tremendous progress in our efforts of building a quantum computer, efforts that have culminated in the recently announced "quantum supremacy" calculation of the Google AI team using a 53-qubit digital quantum computer. In this talk, I will provide an introduction to quantum computing and explain the underlying concepts that enable the tremendous speedups that are observed. I will discuss where the technology stands now, what are potential near-term applications, and what are future goals in our race towards the realization of a full-fledged quantum computer.

About the speaker: Dr. Orth is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University. He is a theoretical condensed matter physicist who works on non-equilibrium dynamics of strongly correlated quantum materials and the effects of competing interactions and emergent order on the electronic properties of solids.

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WIU Physics Student Seminar

Speaker: Ms. Madeleine Wilsey and Ms. Sadie Nickles
Date: Friday, October 25, 2019
Time: 4pm
Room:  Currens hall 205

Physics student seminar

Topic (Speaker: Ms. Madeleine Wilsey): Transparent Electrodes for Solar Cells: Combining Silver Nanowires and Reduced Graphene Oxide

Abstract: As a result of our current energy crisis, many different types of solar cells have emerged such as organic, hybrid perovskite, and nanocrystal solar cells. These next generation solar cells aim at achieving the low-cost, flexibility, and lightweight demands of society. Indium Tin Oxide has been the material of choice for the electrode layer of these devices, as it has achieved the high conductivity and transparency demands. However, the scarcity of indium resources has forced solar researchers to develop other flexible, low-cost transparent conductors with the potential to replace ITO in solar devices. This study investigates the possibility of replacing ITO with a layered silver nanowire (AgNW), reduced graphene oxide (rGO) electrode. The silver nanowire film on its own has reached a sheet resistance of 12 Ω/sq and a transparency of 80%. Similarly, the reduced graphene oxide films have achieved a transparency of 90%, and sheet resistance of 73 kΩ/sq. The overall combined film has a transparency of 81% and a sheet resistance of 118 Ω/sq. Further research is being done to achieve lower sheet resistance values for future applications in solar cell devices.

Topic (Speaker: Ms. Sadie Nickles): Fluorescence of Praseodymium (Pr3+) ions in Bismuth Telluro-Borate Glasses and Glasses Containing Semiconducting Nanoparticles

Abstract: Bismuth oxide glasses have received significant attention because of their interesting properties such as lowsoftening point, high refractive index, high density and radio shielding. These glasses are ideal for exploring the optical properties of rare earth (RE) ions such as Praseodymium (Pr3+) ions which have interesting photonic applications. Recent investigations have shown that if nanoparticles (NPs) are present near the RE ions, they could enhance the fluorescence intensity of the RE ions. We have successfully grown CdSe NPs in bismuth telluro-borate glasses and studied their effect on the absorption and fluorescence properties of Pr3+ ions. We have observed that for 11 hours annealing time, the effect of CdSe NPs is very significant on the fluorescence of Pr3+ ions. In addition to this, we determined the correlated color temperature of these glasses using chromaticity coordinates. Chromaticity coordinate values show that the 11 hour annealed samples can be used as white light emitting sources.

About the speakers: Madeleine Wilsey and Sadie Nickles are physics majors at WIU.

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WIU Physics Department Lecture Series on Nobel Prizes

Understanding the Evolution of the Universe and Earth’s Place in the Cosmos 

Speaker:  Dr. Esteban D. Araya 
Date: Friday, October 18, 2019
Time: 4pm
Room:  Currens hall 205

Nobel prize winner

About the speaker: Dr.Esteban D. Araya is a Professor of Physics, at Western Illinois University. His research interests is in Observational Astrophysics.

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