Project Description

Alp Sipahigil

Alp Sipahigil

“I study nanoscale hybrid quantum systems involving qubits in engineered acoustic and photonic structures. I work with (old and new) solid-state qubits and explore ways to tailor their interaction with their phononic and electromagnetic environments and with other qubits. This work requires us to understand microscopic mechanisms that take place in nanoscale devices with great precision and allows us to explore new ways to process quantum information. As an experimentalist, I have fun playing with fancy toys and experimenting with new systems in previously inaccessible regimes.”

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I study the properties and applications of nanoscale hybrid quantum systems involving qubits in engineered acoustic and photonic structures. Most recently, I have been investigating the coherence properties and applications of sub-micron scale acoustic resonators. These resonators, developed in the Painter Group, can be very effectively isolated from their environment — they can oscillate about 10 billion times before losing their energy. We recently developed a transducer to couple such acoustic resonators to superconducting microwave circuits, and we are now using these transducers to get new insights into the decoherence mechanisms of nano-acoustic resonators. We are also looking for ways to utilize this system as a quantum memory for superconducting circuits and as a converter of single photons from microwave frequencies to the optical domain. Such a converter would allow us to create entanglement between superconducting microwave circuits over long distances via room-temperature fiber links without having to worry about thermal photons.
When I started college, I was interested in music and played in a band, so I was interested in studying topics related to acoustics and signal processing as an electrical engineer. When I took a quantum physics class, I really enjoyed it and decided to switch to physics. Two of my favorite subjects in undergrad were information theory and quantum physics. Quantum information research, therefore, seemed like a fun, interdisciplinary combination of the two.

Oddly enough, I am back to working on acoustics, only now in an extreme regime at ultralow temperatures and using nanoscale devices. Some concepts transfer, but there are many new properties that emerge at the nanometer scale.

I typically have more free time when I’m in the design stage of a new experiment. I then go back to playing music more frequently (to a typical audience of zero to one person and a dog). I play the guitar, but I also tend to pick up new instruments every now and then. I recently explored a Turkish instrument called the kopuz, but I am still quite bad at it. I have been trying to explore southern California and go on hikes whenever I can. On some weekends I spend a day at the Huntington to relax and to do some reading.