Sunday 31 July 2022

Talk on Developing Technical Skills for a Research Career

On 12 April 2022, the Physics and Electronics department had organised a talk by Santosh S., an alumnus (2015-18) of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), who is currently a research scholar at the University of Bonn, Germany.
Dr. Mukund N Naragund, faculty in charge of the event, briefed about the talk. Ms. Hamsaveena of 6PME introduced the speaker to audience with a welcome note.
The main focus of the talk was the emerging field of quantum technology and the skills one would need to pursue this discipline. Santosh S. first described and explained the four fields that lie under quantum technology, quantum metrology, quantum computation, quantum simulation, and quantum information. Quantum metrology is the study of quantum measurements, and is the most important field for studying fundamentals. Giving the example of a hydrogen atom, he also explained why there will be no more super symmetric particle to be discovered in the next five hundred years with our current technology.
The second example given was of atomic clocks, and how a research paper described how precise clocks allowed for the resolution of gravitational time dilation across a millimetre- scale atomic sample with an error of one second. Further, miniature atomic clocks will become gravimeters to measure the gravitational field, due to their precision.
Quantum computation was the next topic discussed, with a focus on how Google reached quantum supremacy in 2020, and how quantum computing varies from classical computing when it comes to certain functions such as the Grover search algorithm, its inverse method, finding the prime factors of numbers, and for drug creation.
After this, the discussion shifted to quantum simulation, and how in 1995, the Bose-Einstein condensate vacuum chamber was achieved, with a lithium fermionic condensate at 100nK temperature, and how the measured magnetism jumps between two d layers.
The last topic discussed in this part of the talk was quantum information, which is the distributing of entangled quantum states across a network. A cornerstone paper titled ‘A Single Quantum Cannot be Cloned’ was also discussed, along with Santosh S. recounting his experience in the field. He spoke of a network node called a stationary Qubit he is working on, and how his team had a world record in entanglement technology that until last year was unbroken. He also mentioned that he would be teaching a lecture on quantum technology in the coming future.
With this, the first part of the talk was complete, and Santosh S. moved to the second part, which was about the skills and tools required to get into the field of quantum technology. The most important qualities and skills required are: interest, funding, mechanical engineering, computer programming, photonics, and electronics. He went on to explain how the 6 semesters of electronics he learnt during his Bachelor’s helped him immensely in his current field of study. The basics of electronics taught in the first semester helped in building circuits, the study of op-amps in the second semester was instrumental in control theory and building control loops, and the digital electronics of the third semester was vital for device control and time precision. Moreover, the study of antennas, microwaves, and transmission lines in the fourth semester aided in Qubit control, microcontrollers and microprocessors in the fifth semester aided in the main experiment control, and the study of FPGA in the sixth semester was the most important of all, as it can be used to control and simulate all of the above.
When talking about how to fill one’s toolbox with the required skills, Santosh S. mentioned the following: learning plotting, simulation, and error calculation on Python, mastering LaTeX, soldering, programming on FPGA, DSP, and Raspberry Pi, and learning to read papers and datasheets, and extracting information from them. He also mentioned the necessity of being cautious to get into the field, but to not be scared, and that the most important skill one can learn is how to learn.
On the behest of the faculty, Santosh S. shared some of his experiences of studying in the university, and shared his email address for further discussions or doubts.
About 120 students from VI sem PCM and PME classes attended the session. The faculty members from the department were also present and interacted with Mr. Santosh.
Ms. Sanithi John of 6 PME proposed vote of thanks.

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