April 17, 2020
by Carol Lynn Alpert
QSTORM in the Time of Plague
Participating: Top Row: Elizabeth, Carol Lynn; Middle Row: Jessica (with micelle wallpaper), Thomas; Bottom Row: Abhijit, Peter.
It took a pandemic to motivate us to Zoom for the first time. Ironically, using Zoom in the midst of the lockdown made us feel closer together than we have for the past year, as our faces and voices filled the screen. Even Jessica’s cat dropped in to give her a good mauling.
Everyone shared tales of experiments left abandoned in the lab, turning to alternatives such as theory, paper reading & writing, and proposal preparation. Jessica has been modeling the spread of the virus and making projections. She thinks the labs will be able to start up again in early June. In the meantime, it is a situation of making due with the data already collected. Jessica and Peter told of adjusting to teaching online; Elizabeth provided an account of how a class based on team research projects had suddenly transformed into one based on individual work.
Nevertheless, there was progress to report.
Optics Team – Georgia
Abhijit is working on revising the manuscript of a second paper he and Peter are preparing. The first paper showed that they have been able to achieve 5 nm localization in two planes, and 14 nm in the z-plane; now they are working to understand the theoretical limits to how much more that can be improved through the use of “self-interference digital holography” or SIDH. Abhijit describes those calculations here.
QDot Team – Ohio
Thomas and Elizabeth both made excellent progress during the month before their labs shut down for COVID-19. Elizabeth solved some non-specific binding problems and showed that she could get the DNA cages inside fixed cells. She was able to get the data she needed to submit in a new proposal for continuing funding. Thomas was able to solve the AuNP aggregation problem, and is looking forward to finally being able to test photoswitching behavior between QD-DNA and AuNP-DNA conjugates. Jessica has been doing some thinking about making a COVID-19 biosensor. Read the QDot Team blog post here.
Communications Team – Boston
The Museum is closed, though we are producing a new Museum at Home website (see www.mos.org). Carol Lynn has been spending a lot of time working on the lead writing team for an NSF-OSTP project on establishing a set of Key Concepts for Future QIS (Quantum Information Science) Learners. The workshop was supposed to have taken place at Harvard in mid-March with 25 researchers, educators, and industry participants, but is now happening over a much longer period online with many Zoom consultations and Google Drive document building.
Our next QSTORM-AO phone meeting will be June 9, at 11 am via Zoom
(We are skipping the May meeting, because labs are closed, and we don’t expect much experimental progress.)
Fare well, all.