Exploring Synthetic Quantum Materials in Superconducting Circuits

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Superconducting circuits have emerged as a competitive platform for quantum computation, satisfying the challenges of controllability, long coherence and strong interactions. I will show our recent experiments to apply this toolbox to the exploration of strongly correlated quantum materials made of microwave photons. We develop a new approach for preparing photonic many-body phases, where engineered dissipation is used as a resource to protect the fragile quantum states against intrinsic losses. We apply it to our system, a strongly interacting Bose-Hubbard lattice, and realize a dissipatively stabilized Mott insulator of photons. The dynamics of thermalization towards the Mott phase is probed using lattice-site- and time-resolved microscopy. In a separate experiment, we build Chern insulator lattices for microwave photons and observe topologically protected edge states. Our experiments demonstrate superconducting circuits as a powerful platform for studying synthetic quantum materials, and I will briefly discuss our future directions: e.g. the exploration of strongly interacting topological phases, entanglement and quantum thermodynamics in driven-dissipative settings.


Alex Ruichao Ma Alex Ruichao Ma, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University. Prof. Ma received his B.Sc in Physics from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2009. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 2014, studying strongly-correlated phases of ultracold atoms in optical lattices, in the group of Markus Greiner. He was a Postdoc at the Harvard/MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms from 2014-2015 and at the James Frank Institute, University of Chicago from 2015-2019. At Chicago, he worked on creating synthetic quantum materials in superconducting circuits, in the groups of David Schuster and Jonathan Simon. Alex joined Purdue University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in August 2019. His experimental group focuses on quantum many- body physics and quantum information using superconducting circuits, with research interests that remain at the intersection between condensed matter, AMO, and quantum information sciences.

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  • (2020), "Exploring Synthetic Quantum Materials in Superconducting Circuits," https://nanohub.org/resources/31595.

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129 Burton-Morgan, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN