Special & Memorial Sessions

Special Session Announcements

The ASC 2024 program committee is organizing a series of special sessions which will be of interest to various attendees, including engineers/scientists, system-level developers, and industry-level representatives. These sessions will feature both special invited presentations and contributed talks.

In addition, ASC 2024 will be holding memorial sessions to honor remarkable individuals who made significant contributions to the field of applied superconductivity but have since passed away.

Please refer to the list of special and memorial sessions below.

ASC 2024 Electronics Special Sessions

Superconducting Quantum Sensing for Axion Search

For over two decades, superconducting quantum sensors have been critical in enabling searches for axion dark matter. Axions are well-motivated Dark Matter candidates that would also solve the strong CP problem in QCD, but their allowed mass range covers more than 10 orders of magnitude, and the measurable signals induced by axions are very weak. It will be impossible to complete the search for QCD axion dark matter over their full mass range without the use of new quantum techniques utilizing superconducting sensors with sensitivity better than the standard quantum limit. Sensors developed for axion searches have synergies with astrophysical searches and advances in instrumentation including quantum-enabled readout, high-Q resonators and cavities, and large high-field magnets. This special session includes an overview talk by Prof. Kent Irwin illustrating both the necessity of quantum sensing in high energy physics and its feasibility, followed by four talks describing efforts in detail.

Organized by: Hsiao-Mei Sherry Cho (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Superconducting Qubits: Connecting Device Performance to Material Properties and Nanostructure

With tremendous improvements in their performance over the past couple of decades, superconducting quantum devices have emerged as a leading technology platform for addressing complex computational problems that are intractable with their classical counterparts. Nonetheless, demonstrating scalable quantum systems requires significant improvements in the lifetime of quantum states, or coherence times of these devices. This lifetime limits the circuit depth achievable in quantum computing platforms while also limiting the achievable error rates (fidelity) associated with single and multi-qubit operation. The presence of defects, impurities, interfaces, and surfaces in the constituent materials represents a critical barrier limiting these coherence times, but often the exact mechanisms limiting performance remain not understood. As a result, groups around the world are collaborating across boundaries of different disciplines and communities, using a wide variety of characterization techniques to draw correlations between structural defects and chemical inhomogeneities to the performance of superconducting qubits. These include materials characterization techniques such as scanning/transmission electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction/reflectivity, scanning probe microscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and atom probe tomography performed at both room temperature and cryogenic temperatures and superconducting characterization techniques including THz spectroscopy, magneto optical imaging, point contact tunneling and muon spin rotation. Through these efforts, and in collaboration with computational material efforts, researchers have identified a wide variety of defective structures that may serve as possible sources of two-level systems (TLS) or non-TLS dissipation in superconducting qubit systems. This work is at the core of recent efforts such as those established by the DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Centers, in particular the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center (SQMS). A national nanofabrication taskforce has been established by SQMS with the participation of experts from research and industrial foundries across the nation working hand in hand with materials science experts to address performance understanding and systematicity and reproducibility. This session invites world leading experts from different collaborating communities reporting new methodologies and approaches to this problem and most recent results.

Organized by: Anna Grassellino (Fermilab)

TES Workshop: CMB-S4: Detectors / Readout / Modules

CMB-S4 (the Cosmic Microwave Background Experiment – Stage 4) is a next-generation ground-based experiment designed to precisely map the cosmic microwave background (CMB) with unprecedented sensitivity. The project is a joint pursuit by the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation and has been recommended as a high priority in the National Academies Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (Astro2020) and as a top priority in the 2023 Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) Report recommendations. The CMB-S4 project will deploy ~500,000 orthomode transducer (OMT)-coupled superconducting transition-edge sensor (TES) bolometers across ~500 arrays, which will be addressed by multiplexed SQUID readout. Detector modules consisting of TES bolometer arrays, readout electronics, optical coupling wafers, feedhorn arrays, and accompanying electrical connections will be fielded to sites in both the Atacama Desert of Chile and the Antarctic plateau at the South Pole Station. This Special Session, held within the TES Workshop at ASC 2024, will highlight the technical progress of the CMB-S4 project in the areas of superconducting detectors, SQUID readout, and module design/assembly/testing.

Organized by: Shannon Duff (NIST), Douglas Bennett (NIST), Kaja Rotermund (LBNL), and Paul Szypryt (NIST/CU-Boulder)

For additional details regarding the Transition-Edge Sensor (TES) Workshop, click here.

ASC 2024 Materials Special Sessions

Get Together: Challenges and Opportunities of Superconducting Materials

The special session “Get together: challenges and opportunities of superconducting materials” aims to bring together the materials audience to discuss the present and future of the most relevant superconducting materials. Representative materials experts will discuss the challenges, opportunities and application niches of each type of material, namely new high temperature superconducting materials, Nb-based materials, REBCO coated conductors, BSCCO, MgB2 and Fe-based materials. The session will conclude with a round table discussion on common situations and needs for the superconducting community. We believe it is a good moment to bring the materials audience together to discuss common concerns to make superconducting materials a reality for our society.

Organized by: Teresa Puig (ICMAB, CSIC) and Yanwei Ma (IEE, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

ASC 2024 Large Scale Special Sessions

Fusion Public-private Partnership

We would like to invite you to join us for a special session on fusion public-private partnership, where experts from both academia and industry will convene to explore the intricate dynamics of fusion energy technology and its critical implications for our collective energy future within the public-private partnership approach.

This special session aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Understand the nuances of public-private opportunities across diverse global landscapes;
  • Facilitate insightful discourse through a speaker series session, offering succinct presentations and guided discussions;
  • Address pertinent questions surrounding fusion energy technology development, public-private partnerships, geopolitical influences, workforce requirements, private startup impacts, and risk mitigation strategies in magnet technology development.

Your participation in this session will contribute significantly to the advancement of fusion energy discussion, shaping the trajectory of this vital field.

Organized by: Luigi Muzzi (ENEA), Erica Salazar (CFS), Nicolò Riva (Proxima Fusion), Robert Duckworth (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), and Valentina Corato (ENEA)

Superconductivity Global Alliance (ScGA) for a Greener, Healthier, more Prosperous and Sustainable Future

Superconducting technologies have been developed significantly over the last few decades and are ready to be scaled up and deployed in diverse applications beyond their present usage (MRI, NMR, and physical sciences and research). Superconductivity has the potential to provide means towards zero-emission targets, enabling extensive usage of wind power generation, facilitating zero-emission transportation, enabling fusion power, superconducting quantum computing, water purification new medical diagnosis and therapy tools, and new scientific breakthroughs.

To realize the potential of superconductors in addressing our societal future needs as identified in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called the Global Goals; will require, among other things, the development of new partnerships and alliances including new business models for investment and funding to accelerate the development of commercial superconducting technologies and solutions for diverse sectors and translate it into successful market applications.

This special session will review the progress of the Superconducting Global Alliance (ScGA) initiative for a Greener, Healthier, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future. Proposed strategic roadmaps and an update on Consortia membership addressing identified grand challenges will be presented for identified smart markets in healthcare, big science, digital and computing, industrial, and energy sectors followed by a panel discussion on the ScGA’s role in addressing the Global Development Goals.

Organized by: Ziad Melhem (Oxford Quantum Solutions Ltd.) and Joseph Minervini (Novum Industria LLC)

ASC 2024 Joint Special Sessions

Are NI REBCO Magnets Really Self-protected?

Non-insulated (NI) wound magnet technology using REBCO coated conductors are of interest for use in a variety of magnet applications, from high-field research magnets to fusion applications. The primary interest in this technology is based on the premise that they provide passive protection against a destructive quench event and local defects. While this has proven true for some NI coils which demonstrated robust quench protection, other NI coils have experienced significant thermal damage during quench indicating the allowable design and operational space for successful passive protection for NI coils is not yet well understood. To fulfill this knowledge gap in the community, a special session has been organized that will include an overview of NI coil technology along with talks presenting the experiences and failure analysis of NI/MI coils from groups working on various magnet applications. A 30-minute panel discussion between the presenters and the audience will follow.

Organized by: Satoshi Awaji (Tohoku University, Institute for Materials Research) and Ashleigh Francis (Commonwealth Fusion Systems)

Facilitating Superconductivity Commerce with Standards

This session takes a bold look at how an essential component of future commercial sectors might evolve from the present marketplace. Superconducting standards have underpinned many aspects of the supply chain feeding medical imaging magnets and major acquisitions for large science facilities, sectors that have valuations in the billions of dollars. Yet, despite the maturity of conventional superconductors, much is needed to be done for emerging sectors in quantum information, sustainable energy, and next-generation medical and science magnets. Speakers will describe the pervasive use of standards in present commerce as well as critical areas for development including new definitions and terminology, property measurements, calibrations and references, and workforce.

Organized by: Michael Parizh (GE HealthCare) and Lance Cooley (NHMFL/Florida State University)

Mechanical Limits of REBCO in Applications

In application, REBCO tapes and components often operate at their limits, which can lead to the degrading of the device if the stresses exceed the limit. Every specific application stresses the tapes in a specific way, therefore many aspects must be considered, and wide range of experimental conditions should be applied in order to investigate the mechanical limits of REBCO tapes.

The objective of this session is to give a brief overview of the questions that need to be addressed for common applications, like fusion magnets, high-field magnets, cables, and joints. Depending on the operational conditions, the REBCO based superconducting device is subjected to various loads – cycling or stationary, longitudinal, or transversal to the tape direction, compressive or tensile, or combinations of them. Some of these loads are due to impregnating REBCO tapes with structural materials, such as solders or resins. The mechanical limits of REBCO tapes vary depending on the tape supplier. Experiments on mechanical limits are often performed for REBCO tapes as they are received, or on specific REBCO-based components or devices. The evolution of the critical current at 77K is a common approach to identify the irreversibility limit of the strain and the possible degradation due to mechanical loads. Modelling is often used for results verification and understanding the origin of degradation of REBCO tapes due to mechanical loads.

The most important aspects of mechanical limits of REBCO tapes for applications are addressed in session presentations.

Organized by: Nadezda Bagrets (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Valentina Corato (ENEA)

ASC 2024 Memorial Sessions

Remembering Harold Weinstock: A Tribute to His Dedicated Support of High Transition Temperature Superconductor Josephson Junctions 

This session memorializes Dr. Harold Weinstock, a former program officer at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, where he managed programs in electronics and electronic materials that relate to superconductivity. The speakers in this session span the three areas of ASC, e.g., electronics, materials and large scale and will present highlights of some of the work that he supported over his career.  Harold received a B.A. in physics from Temple University in 1956 and a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University in 1962. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from INSA de Lyon. He was for more than 20 years a professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He was the founding director of IIT’s Educational Technology Center. Dr. Weinstock was a Fellow of the Air Force Research Laboratory, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  He served as ASC Board Chair (1998-2000) and directed the ASC in September 2000 at Virginia Beach, VA. Dr. Weinstock carried out research for much of his career. Among his accomplishments, he was a leading expert in the science and engineering of superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). In addition to IIT, he served in research appointments at the University of Maryland, the Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Leuven in Belgium, the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands, INSA de Lyon in France, and the University of Houston. In 2002, he was a Guest Professor at the University of Paris VI, Pierre et Marie Curie, where he helped establish a research program in SQUID nondestructive evaluation. From 1972 to 1986, he was a part-time Visiting Staff Member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he engaged in research on current-carrying superconductors. He was the author or co-author of over 100 articles on scientific research or educational development, held one patent, and edited 11 books, mostly on superconductivity.

Harold’s unwavering support, insight and dedication catalyzed groundbreaking research in superconductivity. Though he may have departed, his legacy of innovation and inspiration will continue through the students he educated, books that he published and researchers who he supported. Rest in peace, knowing your contributions have forever altered the course of scientific discovery.

Organized by: Shane Cybart (University of California Riverside)

Sae Woo Nam Memorial Session: Superconducting Single-Photon Detectors

This session is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Sae Woo Nam (1970-2024). Sae Woo made significant contributions to the development of superconducting single-photon detectors, including both transition edge sensors (TESs) and superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs). Not only did he demonstrate high system detection efficiency devices, but he also demonstrated some of the key technological developments, such as self-aligned optical fibers, amorphous alloys, and the use of compact cryocoolers, that enabled the commercialization of these devices in the past decade.

Sae Woo completed his PhD in 1999 at Stanford under the supervision of Prof. Blas Cabrera, where he demonstrated the first TES measurements of infrared photons and investigated TESs for dark matter detection. He joined NIST as an NRC postdoctoral fellow in 1999 under the supervision of Dr. John Martinis. He refined the optical TES and demonstrated the photon-number resolving capabilities of this device. It was then used in a portable system at Boston University to make the first measurements of Hong-Ou-Mandel photon bunching in collaboration with Prof. Sergienko’s quantum optics group. In 2008, he demonstrated 98% system detection efficiency (SDE) in TESs, a record result that enabled loophole-free Bell experiments and advances in photonic quantum computing.

 Sae Woo also did pioneering work with SNSPDs. In 2007, Sae Woo and collaborators demonstrated a QKD system that held the distance record in optical fiber for a decade. Sae Woo pioneered the use of WSi to make SNSPDs in 2010, and he demonstrated 93% SDE in these devices in 2013. In 2015, his group used SNSPDs to demonstrate a loophole-free Bell experiment at the same time as Prof. Zeilinger’s group used Sae Woo’s TESs to perform a similar experiment in Vienna. In recognition of this work, Sae Woo was a co-recipient of the 2017 John Stewart Bell Prize for Research on Fundamental Issues in Quantum Mechanics and their Applications.

Besides the Bell Prize, Sae Woo was awarded numerous other prizes during his 25-year career. He was a Fellow of Optica, IEEE, and APS. He received the Jacob Rabinow Applied Research Award from NIST in 2008 and the Arthur Flemming Award. He was named a NIST Fellow in 2013 and received the Presidential Rank Award in 2017 for his contributions to quantum information science.  Sae Woo also served as a vocal evangelist for single-photon technologies throughout the U.S. government and was instrumental in supporting a number of major efforts to advance these methods.

Sae Woo is remembered by his friends and colleagues as not only a brilliant scientist but as a humble man. He always wanted to include his colleagues in all his awards. He will be remembered as much for his love of friends and family as for his scientific accomplishments.

Organized by: Karl Berggren (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Richard Mirin (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Theodore Van Duzer Memorial Session: Innovation in Superconducting Digital Circuits and Memory

This session is dedicated to the memory of Professor Ted Van Duzer, an educator, researcher, and leader in digital and rf superconducting electronics.  It will cover topics pioneered by Prof. Van Duzer, including Josephson devices and multi-gigahertz digital superconductor circuits, and memory technologies. The session will also cover hybrids with cryogenic semiconductor components for energy-efficient computing.

Ted was born in Piscataway Township, New Jersey in 1927. At 17, he joined the Navy as a radio technician, his entree into a career in electrical engineering. With assistance from the GI bill, he earned a Bachelors at Rutgers University, a Masters at UCLA and a PhD at UC Berkeley where he subsequently served on the faculty from 1961-2014.

An IEEE Life Fellow and recipient of the IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity, Ted was internationally recognized as a pioneer in superconducting digital electronics, working closely with industry in China, Japan, and the United States. He was also a co-founder of a superconductivity focused startup, Conductus Inc. in Sunnyvale, CA.

Ted was a founder of the IEEE Superconductivity Committee, which grew into the current IEEE Council on Superconductivity (CSC), founded the IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity and served as the first Editor-In-Chief, and was active in the organization of many Applied Superconductivity Conferences over the years, serving on the Board for a time. The IEEE CSC Van Duzer Prize awarded to recognize the best-contributed paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity during one volume year is named in his honor. He co-founded and was the first chair of the Workshop on Superconducting Devices, Circuits, and Systems in 1979. He was inducted into the US National Academy of Engineering in 1997, and was the co-author of two seminal books, Principles of Superconductive Devices and Circuits and Fields and Waves in Communications Electronics.

Organized by: John Spargo (Northrop Grumman)

William Sampson Memorial Session: Accelerator Magnets from the Beginning

William (Bill) Sampson of Brookhaven National Laboratory, passed away on October 17, 2023. Bill was an early pioneer in the development of superconducting accelerator magnets. This Special Session highlights Bill’s many accomplishments and contributions throughout his productive and long career.

Organized by: Kathleen Amm (Brookhaven National Laboratory) and Steve Gourlay (FNAL)

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