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NEWS | Dec. 11, 2014

Dr. Sam Carter Honored with Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Sam Carter, a research physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has received the Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award from the NRL Edison Chapter of the Sigma Xi scientific research society. Sigma Xi's Young Investigator Award recognizes scientists for outstanding research within 10 years of their highest earned degree and their ability to communicate their research to the public.

He is recognized for developing and implementing ultrafast optical quantum gates for spin qubits in semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). This work has developed many of the basic building blocks for quantum information technology, including single qubit gates, two-qubit entangling gates, and the coupling of spin qubits to photons.

Carter's achievements in ultrafast optical control of semiconductor QDs began during his postdoctoral studies at JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, and have continued at NRL as part of a number of highly productive programs aimed at developing electron spins in semiconductor QDs as a scalable platform for quantum information processing.

Carter's expertise in ultrafast optical techniques has enabled exquisite control of quantum dot systems, in particular the demonstrations of ultrafast quantum gates on single and multiple quantum bits. These quantum gates are essential for applications in quantum information, and the speed of these gates is one of the key advantages of this platform. His demonstration of ultrafast quantum gates on a pair of entangled spins in quantum dots has had a major impact on the solid state quantum information community as demonstrated by many high-impact journal publications and eight invited presentations.

Carter's research supports efforts in the Navy, DOD, and the intelligence community to develop quantum information technology. The power of quantum information lies in coherent superpositions of quantum states and the non-classical correlations of entanglement. These physical principles fundamentally change the way information can be processed and transmitted. They allow for the massively parallel processing of quantum computers, which can be used for decryption and processing large datasets, and for secure communication guaranteed by quantum mechanics. Carter's work focuses on developing the solid state platform and has demonstrated the basic principles and techniques needed to control, couple, and measure these quantum systems.

Carter received his bachelors' degrees in Physics and Chemistry from Brigham Young University in 1999. He received his doctorate in Physics from University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2004. Prior to coming to NRL, he worked as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate at NIST/JILA in Boulder, Colorado. Then in 2007, he came to NRL as a Research Physicist. He works in NRL's Electronics Science and Technology Division.

His honors include the John Cardy Award for graduate academic performance (2000), a National Research Council Fellowship (2005-2007), and an Alan Berman Research Publication Award-Basic Research (2013).

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