January 2023

TechTalk – Defect Tolerant Brain-inspired Computing with Memristors

Human brain can perform many tasks much better than classical electronic computers, such as face recognition, reasoning based on vague information, and learning from experience, to name a few. Recently, brain-inspired algorithms have promoted in the rapid development of artificial intelligence, however, they cannot work well in classical computers. In this talk, Dr. Can Li will present his recent works on building brain-inspired computers to fit better with brain-inspired algorithms. Those computers are based on an emerging nanoelectronics device – a memristor – which can store information and compute simultaneously, similar to synapses and neurons in our brain. The built hardware can function similar to human brains, for example, it can tolerate hardware defects, make full use of the nonlinearity of devices, learn from rare samples, and so on.

TechTalk – Non-Fourier Phonon Heat Conduction: Ballistic, Coherent, Localized, Hydrodynamic, and Divergent Modes

Beyond the Fourier diffusion theory on heat conduction, the classical size effects—the Casimir regime—caused by phonon boundary scattering is well known and extensively studied. However, over the last three decades, new regimes beyond the Fourier and the Casimir pictures of heat conduction have been demonstrated. In this talk, I will discuss different phonon heat conduction regimes, including the Knudsen regime, the hydrodynamic regime, the quantization regime, the coherence and localization regimes, and the divergence regime. The Knudsen regime expands Casimir’s picture to many other quasi-ballistic transport geometries, and is being exploited to develop phonon mean free path spectroscopy techniques. Phonon hydrodynamic transport happens when the normal scattering dominates over the resistive scattering, which is a condition difficult to satisfy and only observed at a narrow temperature range less than 20K. However, our recent experiments have observed second sound—a consequence of phonon hydrodynamic transport—at as high at 200K, while simulations point to possibility of observing hydrodynamic heat conduction even at room temperature. Quantized phonon transport was observed at very low temperatures. Signatures of coherent heat conduction, including localization, will be discussed, together with experimental evidences. Divergent thermal conductivity, implying thermal superconductors, is predicted to be possible in low-dimensional materials, although no experiments have provided conclusive evidence. These different phonon heat conduction regimes will be summarized in a regime map, demonstrating the rich phonon transport physics rivaling that of electrons.

TechTalk – (RE)-Ba-Cu-O Single Grain Bulk Superconductors with Improved Superconducting and Mechanical Properties

Extensive research has been carried out over the last three decades, in general, and over last 10 years, in particular, to produce single-grain, high-performance RE-Ba-Cu-O [(RE)BCO bulk superconductors, where RE is a rare earth element or yttrium, for a variety of high field engineering applications. Sample assemblies of bulk (RE)BCO bulk superconductors reinforced under different configurations, remarkably, have enabled trapped fields of more than 17.5 T to be achieved, which is the current world record. More recently, hybrid (RE)BCO bulk superconductors containing Ag, composite and fibre-reinforcements are being developed specifically for both conventional, static devices and more challenging engineering applications where the presence of large electromagnetic stresses has been of concern for the operation of these ceramic-like materials. This seminar will describe the key developments in the processing and properties of high-performance, state-of-the-art (RE)BCO bulk superconductors with a view to develop practical applications over the next 5 years.