No. 6, Spring 2020
Director's Message:

I would say 'Happy Spring!' but most of us are probably working from home, feeling a bit cooped-up, and having to deal with many extra not-the-norm sort of issues. A better greeting might be 'Let's try and get through Spring and readjust to the new normal'.

As you might have expected (if you haven't already seen the LinkedIn Posts or other emails), pretty much all events through the Spring are cancelled due to uncertainty in the near future. To partly mitigate these new barriers, I'd like to point out two tools that can facilitate industry-academic interactions - NOTED SOURCE and INNOGET. Academics create a profile and you receive industry projects that a fitted to their interests and expertise.

This 'unplanned Spring' moving into the Summer months, puts this newsletter in a position to tell you about current efforts at the university including what's in the pipeline, and some interesting developments which might distract for a bit you from the current events.

  • The 2020 FORUM (our annual event where industry gets a chance to interact with students and faculty in an informal, low-key setting) is now scheduled for September 2020. We are planning stacked events through the week to have a series of relevant and interesting events for greater impact and efficient travel schedules.

  • COVID - 19 efforts - A number of targeted efforts towards better understanding and mitigation efforts of the COVID-19 is described here on campus. This is through the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center. You've heard about the Chicago Quantum Exchange - this is the ImmunoEngineering equivalent of the CQE.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have!

Felix Lu
Director of Corporate Engagement
The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering
Learn from their experiences and interact with them informally and conversationally!

Seminar times are nominally on Fridays at 3:00 pm in ERC 201B or 301B. Announcements will be made before the seminar. This event is open to the public.
The Industry Seminar Series has been pushed to the Fall quarter until further notice.
2020 FORUM

-Postponed until September-

Expect a series of events throughout the week. It might be worth considering a family trip to Chicago if you are from out of town!

I look forward to seeing you then!
Join our PME / Industry linkedIn Groups to get occasional updates and interesting articles!
Looking for potential Academic/Industry partners online?

If you are a faculty member looking for industry interactions or partners for translational opportunities, please fill out a profile with Noted Source / Innoget, and contact your Polsky representative about your ideas.
Graduate Student Internships

Are you looking for interns with a highly developed laboratory and/or computational skill set? We are encouraging our 3rd and 4th year PhD students who are curious about industrial positions to seek out internships with companies. Companies can help by providing contact points and a description of the position. Please send any questions or solicitations to Felix .
Additionally, companies that are actively working with faculty can discuss getting NSF funding for graduate student internships by applying for it through the normal faculty led proposals.
Check out the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center Linkedin Page . The Scientific Director of the CIIC is Dr. Shann Yu .

Before becoming the Scientific Director of the CIIC, Dr. Yu received his PhD from Vanderbilt University and held several postdoctoral positions both at EPFL and UChicago.
Does your technical management want an executive understanding of Quantum Engineering and how it may benefit your company?
“Many tests of quantum technologies are confined to a research environment,” said Alan Dibos, Argonne assistant scientist in the Nanoscience and Technology Division. “One of the exciting aspects of this project is the expansion of our laboratory into the greater Chicago area.”

In achieving this milestone, Awschalom and team worked closely with companies in the emerging quantum industry. In partnership with Qubitekk, a new company developing quantum technologies, the team created entangled photon pairs and distributed them across two 26-mile fiber loops. The returning photon pairs were detected, and their correlation was verified with a high signal-to-noise ratio.

The result is the latest from members of the Chicago Quantum Exchange, a national leader in quantum information science. The exchange, includes more than 130 members from universities and national laboratories, including founding members UChicago, Argonne, Fermilab and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The exchange also includes several non-profit and international partners and seven corporate partners, all of which have expertise in varying areas of quantum information technology.

For quantum communications to be practical for private information exchange, users of a quantum channel need to know how many secret keys they can generate for coding and decoding secure messages. But assessing the upper limits of quantum information data transmission has plagued researchers for 20 years, ever since quantum information theory began emerging as a serious scientific field.

The Nature Communications paper has for the first time raised the theoretical quantum communication limits to a class of realistic quantum information channels (in both information loss and added noise) that are practically relevant. While significant progress has been made in simplified, highly idealized theoretical models, it is also important to investgate models closer to reality, Noh said. In his latest work, he said, “I took inspiration from these idealized mathematical models, extracted the key idea there and then adapted it to this more realistic scenario.”

Tian Zhong receives prestigious NSF CAREER award aimed at making quantum internet a reality

Quantum internet consists of stationary nodes where entanglement is generated and stored, and the nodes are connected via photons as quantum links. Today, distribution of quantum-secured cryptographic keys over a network link has been realized, but only at distances no greater than ~100 km due to the intrinsic loss of optical fibers.

Zhong’s project proposes to overcome this limit by developing quantum repeater nodes, where quantum information—in the form of a qubit—is sent as photons between nearby nodes. Qubits are then stored in the internal states of atoms as quantum memories at each node for further processing or user access.

Zhong’s research focuses on using individual rare-earth atoms in solids to realize his repeater node. The rare-earth atoms, specifically erbium (Er), tout long quantum coherence times and emission at a wavelength that is compatible with existing telecommunication infrastructure.

Once deployed, such a network will enable many applications ranging from quantum cryptography, which promises secure communication, to blind quantum computing, to enhanced quantum sensing. Global access to quantum entanglement will allow more accurate timekeeping and improve long baseline telescopes.
“This line of research is cutting-edge,” said Zhong. “If it’s successful, we’ll be the first to demonstrate a functional, long-distance quantum network based on rare-earth solid-state qubits.”
To help serve the needs of our patients, providers and community during this healthcare crisis, HDSI is seeking submissions for ideas and requests for support for innovative solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge aims to support ideas and requests that respond to the quickly changing healthcare delivery landscape. Any UCM faculty, staff, resident or trainee may submit.
The next areas to be hit hard in the US by coronavirus outbreaks may be in the south.

While severe outbreaks in states like New York have gained much of the attention, analyzing infection rates compared to population in smaller areas reveals more troubled areas. States like Louisiana and Georgia have areas with infection rates similar to New York city.

“This is a tsunami that’s moving right toward us.” That was the disquieting thought Stephen Streiffer, Argonne National Laboratory’s interim deputy lab director for science, had on January 10. That day, Chinese scientists first released the gene sequence of SARS-CoV-2, allowing researchers around the globe to begin study of the novel coronavirus. The very next day, China reported the first known death from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

As the coronavirus began spreading throughout the world, infecting hundreds of thousands, Argonne’s top minds, along with associates from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, joined forces on the front lines of the international scientific fight against the pandemic. At Argonne, a U.S. Department of Energy research center in Lemont, several teams of researchers — microbiologists, systems engineers, computer scientists, emergency management experts — have been feverishly working to provide answers to the most critical questions raised by the contagion, from how to create effective antiviral medications to which societal interventions will slow the spread of the disease and save the most lives. “The entirety of the infrastructure that we can bring to bear has got to be brought to bear to address this,” Streiffer says. “Otherwise people are going to keep dying.”
Aerial View of Argonne National Laboratory
A team of 60 scientists and engineers, students and clinicians from both the private sector and universities, including the University of Chicago, are unveiling, a website that synthesizes the scientific literature about mask decontamination to create a set of best practices to decontaminate and reuse this protective face covering during the current emergency.

“While there is no perfect method for decontamination of N95 masks, it is crucial that decision-makers and users have as much information as possible about the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches,” said Manu Prakash, an associate professor at Stanford University who helped coordinate the volunteer undertaking. “We aim to provide information and evidence in this critical time to help those on the front lines of this crisis make risk-management decisions given the specific conditions and limitations they face.”

The group examined hundreds of peer-reviewed publications regarding main methods of decontamination, and engaged academic and industrial experts in many conversations. Their report focuses on three of these methods: heat, ultraviolet light and vaporized hydrogen peroxide.

The team synthesized current knowledge on the three methods, exposing their documented strengths and weaknesses, and importantly, pointing out knowledge gaps in their application.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is pleased to announce the Polsky Center Small Business Bootcamp to provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with resources during these changing times. This virtual event series will take place during the week of April 13th via livestream, and sessions will take place in the morning and afternoons to accommodate a variety of schedules. These are stand-alone sessions, though we invite you to join us for as many as you'd like.

Leading UChicago health economist explains why our public health infrastructure wasn’t ready for coronavirus, and what we need to change for the next pandemic.
Do you have a broad concept or topic that would benefit from Federal attention and potential funding? See below -

The objectives of the NSF Convergence Accelerator are to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance, and to initiate convergence team-building capacity around exploratory, potentially high-risk proposals addressing selected topics (tracks).

The NSF Convergence Accelerator, an organizational structure to accelerate the transition of convergence research into practice, brings teams together in a cohort with time-limited tracks to focus on grand challenges of national importance that require a convergence research approach, namely the merging of ideas, approaches and technologies from widely diverse fields of knowledge to stimulate innovation and discovery. The teams are interdisciplinary and leverage partnerships across academia, industry, government, non-profit and other sectors. The NSF Convergence Accelerator is modeled on acceleration and innovation activities from the most forward-looking companies, IHE’s, and non-profit organizations.

The purpose of this RFI and call for future topics conference proposals is to seek input from global industry, institutions of higher education (IHEs), non-profits, government entities, and other interested parties on potential NSF Convergence Accelerator tracks for FY 2021.
Researchers and key stakeholders in global industry, IHEs, non-profits, and government entities are invited to submit RFI responses for future NSF Convergence Accelerator tracks.
Researchers and other key stakeholders in U.S. industry, IHE’s, and non-profits may submit corresponding conference proposals and are strongly encouraged to do so.
Articles of interest to our corporate affiliates, but not associated with the University of Chicago
Exactly why the cooling liquid hardens remains unknown. If the molecules in glass were simply too cold to flow, it should still be possible to squish them into new arrangements. But glass doesn’t squish; its jumbled molecules are truly rigid, despite looking the same as molecules in a liquid. “Liquid and glass have the same structure, but behave differently,” said Camille Scalliet, a glass theorist at the University of Cambridge. “Understanding that is the main question.”
To Make the Perfect Mirror, Physicists Confront the Mystery of Glass

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory can sense movements thousands of times tinier than the width of an atom partly because of the instrument’s near-perfect mirrors. The mirrors bounce laser beams back and forth down the arms of LIGO’s L-shaped detectors. Changes in the relative lengths of the arms reveal when a gravitational wave flutters past Earth, stretching and squeezing space-time.They’re nothing like regular mirrors.

In your bathroom mirror, light reflects off metal, which has glass in front of it merely for protection. But LIGO’s 100-kilowatt laser would fry any metal. Instead, its mirrors are made entirely of glass.

LIGO’s mirrors are imperfect, however, because of a strange form of noise that is baked into glass, a mysterious substance in general. Glass consists of atoms or molecules that are haphazardly arranged like those in a liquid yet somehow stuck, unable to flow. Physicists believe that the noise inherent in glass comes from small clusters of atoms switching back and forth between two different configurations. These “two-level systems” ever so slightly change the distance laser light travels between LIGO’s mirrors, since the surface of each glassy layer shifts by as much as an atom’s width.

“LIGO at this point is literally limited by that,” said Frances Hellman , a glass specialist at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the 1,000-person LIGO scientific team. Despite the detectors’ “astonishing vibration isolation, damping, all kinds of stuff that has led to the extraordinary sensitivity,” Hellman said, “the one thing they haven’t been able to get rid of are these funny little atomic motions in the mirror coatings.” Given the thousandth-of-an-atom amplitude of the gravitational waves LIGO is looking for, the atomic motions are a big problem.

Join MAPI for a virtual session with Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner.
Mark will provide insight on current economic data, trends, and the outlook on U.S. manufacturing, including:
  • Perspective on the nature and extent of the economic impact from the global pandemic.
  • Notable impacts and how the manufacturing industry is performing.
  • Trends to watch and what they could mean for manufacturing in 2H 2020.

Past experience with large-scale disasters has helped the energy sector keep the lights—and ventilators—on during the pandemic. Energy is one of 16 sectors that the US government has designated as “critical infrastructure,” which also includes the communications industry, transportation sector, and food and water systems. Each is seen as vital to the country and therefore has a duty to maintain operations during national emergencies.

When organizations embrace purpose, it’s often because a crisis forces leaders to challenge their assumptions about motivation and performance and to experiment with new approaches. But you don’t need to wait for a dire situation. The framework we’ve developed can help you build a purpose-driven organization when you’re not backed into a corner. It enables you to overcome the largest barrier to embracing purpose—the cynical “transactional” view of employee motivation—by following eight essential steps.

The most effective type of marketing is not having to market yourself at all.

This is a contrarian viewpoint, but the reality is, some of the most recognizable brands in the world don’t market —not in the traditional sense. A lot of the marketing that exists is fine, it achieves its goal of increasing awareness and driving demand, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But that is precisely the problem. None of it stands out. Drug companies, car companies, retail stores—all of their ads look, sound, and feel the same. If you removed the logos and watched a handful of them in a row, you would have no idea which ad coincides with which brand.

These companies spend hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars on what is called “mind-share marketing.”
And then there is a company like Tesla.
Upcoming meetings

Different ways to explore interactions with the PME:
  • senior design projects
  • internships
  • materials characterization /device fabrication facilities
  • participation in FORUM events
  • give an industry seminar!
  • Ask Felix!
Parking on campus
You are welcome to park for free on certain streets if you can find it. The closest parking lot to the Eckhardt Research Center is the North parking lot located at the SE corner of 55th St and South Ellis Ave.