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Research Areas


Spike Narayan

Spike Narayan

Dr. Spike Narayan
Science & Technology

"Mind, like a parachute, works best when open"
- Anonymous

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
- Albert Einstein


  • SpinAps
  • Link to Center for Probing the Nanoscale

Almaden Institute 2012 : Superconductivity 297K

Link to Almaden Institute 2012 : Superconductivity 297K -
Synthetic Routes to Room Temperature Superconductivity

Group Name

IBM Research - Almaden Science Colloquium Series

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Science and Technology welcomes researchers from academia and industry to present their work in Almaden's Science Colloquium Series.

Science and Technology staff who are interested in inviting researchers for this series are encouraged to contact Gavin Jones ( or Greg Wallraff ( to arrange presentations. 

Topic: Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles for Toner Applications

Speaker: Andrew J. Myles, Ph. D. (NINT)

Date: 1/22/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Location: Auditorium A

AbstractAs a principal investigator on a NINT-Xerox collaborative research project, Dr. Myles and his team developed methodologies for the synthesis and self-assembly of polymeric nanomaterials.

A novel, scalable process was developed to generate biodegradable ABC triblock copolymers, involving one-pot, neat, organocatalytic ring opening polymerization that does not require stringent reaction conditions, such as removal of water and oxygen, while still maintaining low polydispersities and high molecular weight control. Varying the length of each block allows control over the self-assembly process in aqueous mixtures to form well defined polymeric nanoparticles, opening up a new class of materials for toner applications.


Topic: FluidFM: Combining Atomic Force Microscopy and Nanofluidics in a Liquid Delivery System: 3D Manipulations from Single Cells to Metals

Speaker: Pablo Dorig, Ph. D. (Cytosurge)

Date: 3/4/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Auditorium A

AbstractThe FluidFM instrumentation is a fluid delivery system interfaced with atomic force microscopy (AFM) enabling nm-placement precision of femtoliter-volumes of material. The result is a precisely controlled nanopipette with openings down to 300 nm.  This allows liquid delivery in air or under liquid of femtoliter fluid volumes from closed micro-channels. The system also performs gentle manipulation of microscopic objects while grasping them with underpressure. Possible applications range from single cell injection and biophysical measurements through to 3D metal micro printing.


Topic: Combinatorial Optimization with Coherent Ising Machines

Speaker: Yoshio Yamamoto (Stanford University and ImPACT, Japan) 

Date: 3/11/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Auditorium A

AbstractA novel method that achieves combinatorial optimization using degenerate optical parametric oscillator (DOPO) network is introduced. The DOPO network implements the Ising Hamiltonian as an effective network loss and finds the ground state by exploiting the quantum parallel search, entanglement based filtering and quantum-to-classical crossover at the oscillation threshold. The benefits of the new principle compared to the simulated annealing and quantum annealing will be discussed. A coherent Ising machine is realized by the fiber-based DOPO and the measurement-feedback FPGA circuit with number of Ising spins ranging from N=100 to N=10,000. The performance is compared with the theoretical prediction based on the quantum theory of the DOPO network.


Topic: Electrochemical Ion Insertion Reactions

Speaker: William Chueh (Stanford University) 

Date: 3/25/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: J2-109

Abstract: Electrochemistry plays a crucial role in virtually all energy storage and conversion technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells, and artificial leaves. Ion insertion processes, such as those involving lithium and oxygen ions in solids, are ubiquitous. Unlike electrochemical reactions on metal surfaces, intercalation involves the two-way traffic of ions and electrons. However, despite the importance of intercalation reactions, the fundamental nature of these processes remains mysterious. We are employing in-situ spectroscopy, microscopy, and computation to shed light on the detailed kinetics and thermodynamics of intercalation reactions. In this talk, I will present new insights on two important classes of reactions (1) insertion of oxygen ions in ferrate-perovskite fuel cell electrocatalysts, and (2) intercalation of lithium ions in lithium iron phosphate olivine battery electrodes.

Insertion of oxygen ions into perovskite material is crucial reaction in electrodes for solid-oxide fuel cells and electrolyzer. It is usually assumed that the electron transfer reaction takes place between oxygen adsorbate and the transition metal atoms on the surface, the latter serving as the redox-active centers. Using operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy, we show that oxygen ion is a redox-active center in transition-metal perovskites, and participates directly in the electron transfer reaction.

Another important insertion reaction is the intercalation of lithium into lithium-ion battery electrodes. Using LiFePO4 as a model system and single-particle spectro-imaging, we investigated the heterogeneity of the intercalation reaction. We found that, contrary to intuition, the heterogeneity of the intercalation reaction actually decreases with current. We explain the phenomenon using a phase-field porous electrode model. 



Topic: Towards Practical Quantum Chemistry on a Quantum Computer

Speaker: Ryan Babbush, Ph. D. (Google Research)

Date: 4/8/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Auditorium A

Abstract: As small quantum computers come increasingly close to viability there has been substantial renewed interest in quantum algorithms for modeling chemistry and strongly correlated materials due to low qubit requirements and industrial importance. After a brief review, I will discuss recent work which has dramatically reduced the asymptotic cost of these algorithms. However, while industrial efforts to engineer a quantum memory will soon produce a quantum computer with more physical qubits than can be simulated classically, we are still many years away from having the same number of error-corrected logical qubits. This raises the question of whether shallow (and somewhat noisy) quantum circuits can be used to study classically intractable fermionic systems. I will discuss the promising possibility that parameterized quantum circuits could be trained to model such systems if optimized with respect to a variational principle. Finally, I will review a recent experimental demonstration of these algorithms and discuss prospects for larger demonstrations in the next several years



Topic: Force and Function: How do Biomolecules do it?

Speaker: Hermann Gaub (Ludwig Maximillian University) 

Date: 4/22/2016 Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Location: Auditorium A

Abstract: Molecular interactions are the basis of life, and forces play a crucial role in both the assembly and the structural integrity, as well as the dynamics of all living systems. The regulation of bio-molecular complexes, the maintenance of cellular structures, and even cell signaling are all controlled by mechanical forces. At the molecular level, the relationships between these forces and their biological functions have become accessible through various single molecule force spectroscopy techniques developed in recent years. A deeper understanding of the physics of these relationships has emerged from the very fruitful combination of the high resolution and precision of such experiments together with the insight in structural rearrangements from all-atom Molecular Dynamics Calculations. In this talk, a general overview on this field will be given, followed by a report on recent discoveries: The activation mechanisms of two prominent intracellular force sensors, Myosin Light Chain Kinase and Titin Kinase were elucidated. The clamp-mechanism of catch bonds between Cohesin and Dockerins in Cellulosome complexes could be resolved. Novel strategies for parallelization of force-measuring assays will be discussed, and a new chip based strategy will be introduced starting out from genes and providing direct access to the mechanics of the encoded proteins in a single step process. Finally, the use of molecular force balances for the analysis of DNA-protein interactions will be presented.