Institute for Condensed Matter Theory in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently received a five-year grant of over $1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The grant is part of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative, which strives to catalyze major discoveries in the field of quantum materials—solids and engineered structures characterized by novel quantum phases of matter and exotic cooperative behaviors of electrons. This is the second 5-year EPiQS grant awarded to the ICMT by the Moore Foundation. The two awards establish an EPiQS Theory Center at the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory.
Professor Smitha Vishveshwara received her bachelor's degree in physics magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1996, and was supervised in undergraduate research by Carl Franck and David Mermin. She completed her Ph.D in theoretical physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002 under the guidance of Matthew Fisher. Her graduate research includes the studies of localization physics in superconductors, Luttinger liquids, and quantum entanglement in carbon nanotubes. She served as a postdoctoral research associate with Paul Goldbart and Tony Leggett from 2002 to 2005, working on tunneling and fractional statistics in quantum Hall systems, Aharonov-Bohm effects in carbon nanotubes, entanglement in spin chairs and critical dynamics in charged superconductors. She joined the department as an assistant professor in August 2005.
Vishveshwara's research interests span a broad range of topics in condensed matter physics, and in particular, in strongly correlated states of matter at scales where quantum phenomena prevail. She maintains strong collaborative ties with experimentalists with regards to research involving cold atomic systems, carbon nanotubes, superconducting proximity effects and topologically ordered states of matter. Some of her research thrusts are as follows:
Co-existence of quantum phases in optical lattices
Interacting bosons confined to a pure lattice can exhibit either Mott insulating behavior, where constituent particles are pinned to lattice sites, or superfluid order, where particles are delocalized over sites. Under certain conditions, trapped bosons in optical lattices can display co-existence of the two phases. Vishveshwara has worked towards understanding various aspects of such a system. She has mapped the spatial profile of the co-existent phases, studied their signatures in spectroscopic and time-of-flight measurements, characterized the excitation spectrum of the system and explored Josephson physics between two superfluids mediated by a Mott insulator.
Anyons in two-dimensional systems
A spectacular feature of two-dimensional interacting systems is the potential existence of ‘topological order’ and associated quantum particles, namely anyons, which possess ‘fractional statistics’ interpolating between the statistics of the well-known fermions and bosons. Vishveshwara has performed extensive studies towards characterizing and detecting Abelian anyons in the fractional quantum Hall (FQH) system. These studies include predictions for statistically dependent partitioning of anyonic current in FQH edge-states, descriptions of two-particle correlators in the FQH bulk and proposals for creating anyonic beam-splitters akin to those that employ photons in other systems . More recently, Vishveshwara has turned to non-Abelian anyons. In light of recent experiments in superconducting strontium ruthenate, she has proposed an interferometry experiment to detect Majorana fermions predicted to exist in such superconductors. She has also studied quench dynamics in a lattice system that exhibits topological order.
Quantum phenomena in one-dimensional systems
Systems that are effectively confined to one dimension, such as carbon nanotubes, etched quantum wires, and mesoscopic rings, demonstrate striking collective phenemona that baffle and contradict the intuition obtained from three-dimensional electronic systems. Vishveshwara has investigated various aspects of such systems induced superconductivity in nanotubes and a related double-gap feature, application of fields on nanotubes as a means of accessing a valley degree of freedom, nanotube quantum dots and charge fractionalization in etched rings.
- APS Fellowship (2019)
- Center for Advanced Study Associate Position (2018-2019)
- Simons Fellowship (2012)
- NSF American Competitiveness and Innovation Fellow (2010)
- Center for Advanced Studies Beckman Fellow (2009-2010)
- National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2007)
Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students
|Fall 2017||PHYS 485|
|Fall 2015||PHYS 101|
|Fall 2014||PHYS 150|
|Spring 2012||PHYS 213|
|Spring 2011||PHYS 598|
|Spring 2008||PHYS 487|
|Fall 2007||PHYS 486|
Selected Articles in Journals
- R. Rodriguez-Mota, S. Vishveshwara, T. Pereg-Barnea, "Revisiting 2-pi phase slip suppression in topological Josephson junctions " Physical Review B 99:2, 24517 (2019).
- W. DeGottardi, M. J. Gullans, S. Hedge, S. Vishveshwara, M. Hafezi, "Thermal radiation as a probe of one-dimensional electron liquids", Physical Review B 99:23, 235124 (2019).
- Rahmani, A., Vishveshwara, S.. Interplay of Anderson localization and quench dynamics. Physical Review B 97:24, 245116 (2018).
- K. Padavic, S. Hegde, W. Degottardi, S. Vishveshwara, "Topological phases, edge modes, and the Hofstadter butterfly in coupled Su-Schrieffer-Heeger systems", Physical Review B 98:2, 24205 (2018).
- K. Sun, K. Padavic, F. Yang, C. Lannert, S. Vishveshwara, "Static and Dynamic Properties of Shell Shaped Condensates", Physical Review A 98:1, 13609 (2018).
- R. Rodriguez-Mota, S. Vishveshwara, T. Pereg-Barnea "Detecting Majorana modes through Josephson junction ring-quantum dot hybrid architectures", Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 128, 179-187 (2019).
- M. Khan, J. Teo, T. Hughes and S. Vishveshwara, "Fermion Parity Flips and Majorana Bound States at twist defects in Superconducting Fractional Topological Phases" Phys.Rev. B 95, 205112 (2017)
- K. Padavic, K. Sun, C. Lannert, S.Vishveshwara, "Physics of Hollow Bose-Einstein Condensate Systems" EPL 120, 20004 (2017)
- Condensed Matter Theory
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Urbana Style
Physics Professor Smitha Vishveshwara has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “for pioneering theory of quantum dynamics in nonequilibrium systems and novel phenomena in cold Bose gases.”
Vishveshwara is a theoretical condensed matter physicist with broad research interests in non-equilibrium and strongly correlated systems at all scales, from subatomic to cosmic. A common thread throughout her work is the characterization of emergent phenomena in quantum states of matter—including superconductivity, superfluidity, Mott insulators, topological systems, fractional quantum Hall states, and Majorana wires. In true “Urbana style,” Vishveshwara’s collaborations at Illinois and beyond, often involving close rapport with experimental colleagues, have produced viable experimental stratagems and identified clear signatures that characterize particular states of matter.
- In the Media
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology hosted the premiere of Quantum Rhapsodies on April 10. The performance was a part of the Beckman Institute’s 30th anniversary celebration, and April 10 was the 119th anniversary of the birth of Arnold Beckman. Mr. Beckman, with his late wife, Mabel, donated $40 million to found the Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois campus.
A new performance that explores the world of quantum physics will feature the music of the Jupiter String Quartet, a fire juggler and a fantastical “Alice in Quantumland” scene.
“Quantum Rhapsodies,” the vision of physics professor Smitha Vishveshwara, looks at the foundational developments in quantum physics, the role it plays in our world and in technology such as the MRI, and the quantum mysteries that remain unanswered.