De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posts in category Organization

Nanofront proposal granted

This happens from time to time with the submitted proposals. The proposal title is “Quantum mixtures of topological and non-topological states realized with superconducting junctions”. I will announce a PhD position soon.

Silence and ERC Advanced Grant proposal

I didn’t write much to the blog for almost a couple of months. An excuse for this is I’ve been busy preparing an important grant proposal. Not that it really took every minute of my working time – yet for me it is psychologically difficult to prepare proposals, and any unrelated activity eventually gives a feeling of guilt – whatever irrational it may be.

Anyway, I’m almost done and will submit the proposal soon. It is in development of the recent ideas about topological properties of superconducting junctions. Below is the title and the abstract.

Higher-dimensional topological solids realized with multi-terminal superconducting junctions (HITSUPERJU)

Recently I revealed a deep operational analogy between an exotic material and an electronic device, i.e. between a 3-dimensional topological solid and a 4-terminal superconducting junction. Specifically, the 3d Weyl singularities revealed in the energy spectrum of this quantum device give rise to quantized trans-conductance in two leads that is typical for 2-dimensional topological Quantum Hall materials. The quantized value can be tuned with the third control phase.

I propose to capitalize on this breakthrough by realizing artificial n-dimensional (topological) solid materials by (n+1)-terminal superconducting junctions. This seemed to be fundamentally forbidden so far. In particular, in the framework of one research direction I will address the realization of higher Chern numbers. The edges and interfaces are important in topological solids, they need to be structured. For the artificial topological materials made with multi-terminal superconducting junctions such structuring is impossible in geometric coordinate space. However, the fact that the charge and superconducting phase are quantum-conjugated quantities provide the unique possibility for the structuring in multi-dimensional charge space that I will access in the framework of another direction. These two research directions will be supplemented by a more technical effort devoted to computational (quantum) dynamics of multi-terminal superconducting junctions.

The proposed way to “conquer” higher dimensions for condensed matter physics is of clear fundamental importance. Exciting applications are at the horizon, too. The exotic quantum states under consideration can be topologically protected and thus useful for quantum information processing. Quantized trans-resistance as well as other topological invariants may be important in metrology. More generally, the research proposed will boost the whole field of electronic devices wherever topology guarantees the discrete stability of device characteristics.

Evaluation from VvTP

The VvTP, our student society, has a contact group that evaluates the courses given and provides a feedback for the teachers. This is what I got on Wednesday:

Advanced Quantum Mechanics:
Nazarov is very enthusiastic about the content of the course. He is following the book very closely: that’s a very good thing. The book is very good. Students like this, there is a clear structure in the course. A bit more examples would be nice though, to have some practical view. The problems are very compatible with the book and lectures. Students say that it takes a long time making them, because you really have to understand the content.

The presentations which the students have to prepare are quite good. It would be appreciated if the focus of the course would be a bit more practical in the lectures. Students like the way Nazarov did a survey himself. They appreciated the fact that he is clearly trying to improve his way of teaching. A possible improvement would be to give a quick summary of the content covered at the end of each lecture.’

Actually, it’s pretty encouraging evaluation, thank you). I promise to give the summary every lecture. But, well, my memory is not as good as it used to be X years ago. Perhaps I need to ask assistance from the audience? πŸ™‚

Quantum Transport:
β€˜12 students attending in total. The homework is pretty nice. The course is about applications, but the lectures are not that much into it. Maybe there could be some more exercises to practice and get a better insight.β€˜

A bit surprised that the course is about the applications: but well, it’s rather a compliment πŸ™‚ I hated home work, especially extensive one, when I was a student. Good, perhaps next year I can make more of it.

No place for religion at TU Delft?

this is the title of the article in our university newspaper Delta. I did not see it on time, it’s three weeks old.

Pure vanity: I was interviewed for this article.:)

Mikhail Titov

has been visiting on Wednesday to give the Quantum Nanoscience seminar among other things. I know him from 2000 when he was a post doc with Carlo Beenakker. Now he is a faculty in Nijmegen.

His work now is mostly in bulk transport, graphene being the most popular and useful application. The talk was about linear magnetoresistance and sign-reversed Coulomb drag in compensated Hall regime. This may sound involved, however, it was quite a fun to follow and understand that all miracles of experiment can be solved if you think clearly, simply but beyond a beaten track.

I even had an urge to do some Coulomb drag: I used to like the phenomenon, yet last time I look at it was 1999.


is the name of a European project I’m in. It’s about Maxwell demons. In fact, I always hesitated about the title: on my taste and beliefs, it’s not quite inspiring. However, the project so far went good.

Yet in the end of December I’ve volunteered to prepare a report for the project. In pre-Christmas mood, it seemed a task of a couple of days. Well, I finished it only today :(. I got a psychological clinch with it: could not force myself to start working and going with the work. I knew I do this wrong postponing, and this caused quite some pain – to my feeling, not quite infernal, but I’ve not been there, right? Anyway, it’s good to be through, and it’s good to avoid such clinches for all costs.


English at our University is very flexible reflecting a variety of meanings with very simple constructions. If you say: faculty meeting – this would be most likely the gathering of faculty of a small department, such as mine. If you say: facultymeeting – you imply an act of interaction of our Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben with a handful of people representing all faculties, levels and occupations at our huge technical university.

I have attended one on Tuesday. The previous session I was present for was three years ago. I must say I did not like that one: the people talk stiffly and officially, hardly interacted and listened to each other. This session was much better: the organization has drastically improved, the atmosphere was open and friendly, people spoke themselves out and this was helpful in many respects. Perhaps last part where we were forced to play a manager-course-like game was less inspiring for me, but the total was much better than I expected.

Among other topics, we have discussed a new political development: it looks like soon the Associated Profs will be able to promote their PhD students (it is a peculiarity of Dutch law that they cannot do it officially, and this is usually experienced as a psychological tension by many generations of Associated and Assistance profs). Great news! – yet my concern was that this may invoke more control than it is needed in intimate relation between a student and its supervisor. It appears, however, that the rector has other concerns, of more organizational nature.

We have discussed how to improve the quality of teaching: please do not smile, the discussion was rather substantive. I was surprised that many colleagues support the idea of promoting people to full profs mostly for their educational merits – at the moment, the research is main criterion. I’ve double opinion on this. From one hand, I see some people who have concentrated on education, work hard and excellent – and remain underpaid and un-promoted. From the other hand, long time ago in Russia and more recently in France I saw education-concentrated profs – frankly, I’d rather not. There must be a flexible solution to the problem.

Vacuum Cleaning

The floor in my office is covered with a carpet: I guess it’s about 40 years old, it keeps all small dirty sports of the period and displays all shades of bluish grey depending on the sun exposure accumulated for these years. It’s about a year that I noticed the carpet got dusty and dirty. The consultations revealed that this was a consequence of a renewed working agreement with the trade union of university cleaners.

Ok, a detail. Yet about two weeks ago I’ve noticed that I cough more because that much dust. I ask our secretary if I could get a vacuum cleaner somewhere in the building: if you want it good, you do it yourself. No, she said – this is not an option. Yet she promised to investigate the alternatives.

I quickly forgot about and kept coughing. Yet on Tuesday morning the cleaning lady brought the vacuum cleaner and asked politely whether she could perform the action. She did! My carpet has changed the color and it is unusually fresh in my room. Long live the university services!

Happy New Year

to you, dear reader. Let peace and harmony prevail every aspect of your life!

Today seems a good day to restart my business blog. Since I’m alive, it must go on too. Let me outline my main challenges for 2015 and wish you to confront your challenges as well.

In education, I restart the course on Advanced Quantum Mechanics after five-something year break. That used to be a success, yet the students have changed ever since – so I feel a thrill. The course will be based on my book with Jeroen Danon. Albert Gonzales and Michael Wimmer will help me this year with exercises, so I hope we’ll do it fine.

In research, I need to complete to the papers the ideas of 2014 that came to me and my co-authors – some of them are quite striking and eye-opening. I will apply for a relatively big grant of European Research Council which hopefully gives me some means to work on novel topological effects in multi-terminal Josephson junctions.

As to organization, my role would be modest – conform to my age, I will try to resist most if not all (bureaucratic)changes in the group and the department πŸ™‚ The idea is that the changes that you cannot resist are really useful and necessary πŸ˜‰ while the others …

In addition, have to confront a way more personal challenge: to cope with a long-standing emotional disbalance that, among other things, seriously affects my business efficiency. 2014 has brought the idea of solving this problem, and hopefully the solution can be implemented in 2015.

Actually, my promotion is pending now: I don’t know if or when it happens. In case it will, I’d get a very useful emotional boost.


I suddenly get an urge to galvanize my old business blog. It looks like the significance I assign to work life has recently increased. If the galvanization attempt is successful, I’ll post about most important events of two last months – all back-dated. Wish me some luck.

Β© 2011 TU Delft