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LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

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Itai Cohen and Itay Griniasty research given a spotlight in physicsworld

New research shows that microscale robots can be made from shape shifting 2D sheets. Itai Cohen and Itay Griniasty of Cornell University in the US have developed a mathematical technique for encoding the motion cycle of a tiny robot onto the surface of a flat material. Working alongside Cyrus Mostajeran of the UK’s University of Cambridge, they believe that their work will make it possible to design microscale swimming robots from materials such as liquid crystal elastomers and hydrogels.

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Shen Group Engineering Novel Hybrid Superconductors

To synthesize, detect, and investigate this emerging class of superconductors, Kyle Shen, Physics, is combining molecular beam epitaxy and other advanced materials synthesis technologies with a suite of in situ tools including angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and in-vacuum electrical resistivity measurements.

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Natasha Holmes hosted on "Physics Alive!" Podcast

Natasha Holmes was hosted by Brad Moser on his podcast "Physics Alive!" to discuss her research on  teaching and learning in physics and other STEM courses, especially the efficacy of hands-on laboratory courses.

Physics Alive is the podcast where host Brad Moser, Ph.D., sparks new life into the physics classroom. He speaks with researchers and textbook authors on the frontiers of physics education, life science and health professionals who use physics on an everyday basis, designers and engineers who learn from the natural world, teachers who employ innovative and active learning styles, and students who want the most out of their education.

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LASSP Professional Machine Shop fabricates components for Braille Display

Imagine an iPad or a Kindle for the blind, with inflatable braille that changes shape under a user’s touch. A Cornell-led collaboration has made a crucial component for such a technology: a haptic array of densely packed actuators that cause silicone membrane “dots” to pop up when triggered by combustion.

The team’s paper, “Valveless Microliter Combustion for Densely Packed Arrays of Powerful Soft Actuators,” published Sept. 28 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The lead author is doctoral student Ronald Heisser.

One of the major hurdles for designing a dynamic braille display for electronics is figuring out how to apply the necessary amount of force for each dot. Previous attempts have usually involved motors, hydraulics or tethered pumps, all of which are cumbersome, complex and expensive, according to Rob Shepherd, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering and the paper’s senior author.


The team had many of their components fabricated by the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP) Professional Machine Shop.

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Eun-Ah Kim Blazes Way for Application of Quantum Mechanics

Physicist Eun-Ah Kim studies society – electron society. Her specialty is quantum condensed matter physics, which deals with particles the size of atoms or smaller.

By harnessing the power of machine learning to analyze data produced by experiments into electron behavior, Eun-Ah Kim, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), together with collaborators in A&S, the College of Engineering and the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, is leading the way toward applications of quantum mechanics, including the discovery of new quantum materials and the development of quantum computing.

Kim recently received an $800,000 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for a project titled “Accelerating Machine-Learning-Driven Discovery in Quantum Materials.” With the Foundation support, Kim will build on her work in developing machine learning tools to solve problems in quantum computing related to qubits, originally supported by a grant from the philanthropically funded New Frontier Grant program in A&S.

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Brad Ramshaw Finds Order in Chaos of Strange Metal Electrons

Electrons in metals try to behave like obedient motorists, but they end up more like bumper cars. They may be reckless drivers, but a new Cornell-led study confirms this chaos has a limit established by the laws of quantum mechanics.

The team’s paper, “Linear-in Temperature Resistivity From an Isotropic Planckian Scattering Rate,” written in collaboration with researchers led by Louis Taillefer from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada, published July 28 in Nature. The paper’s lead author is Gael Grissonnanche, a postdoctoral fellow with the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science.


“Empirically, we’ve known that electrons can only bounce into each other so fast. But we have no idea why,” said Brad Ramshaw, the Dick & Dale Reis Johnson Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the paper’s senior author. “Before, the ‘Planckian limit’ was just kind of inferred from data using very simple models. We did a very careful measurement and calculation and showed that it really is obeyed right down to the fine details. And we found that it’s isotropic, so it’s the same for electrons traveling in any direction. And that was a big surprise.”

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