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Research areas and facilities


  • Atomic Fabrication Facility: making atomic scale devices in silicon
    In addition to the fabrication of quantum computer prototype devices, a new program has been established to exploit the technology developed to build conventional transistors in silicon at the atomic level. This program is developing atomic-scale devices in silicon with applications appropriate to and beyond quantum computation, including atomic-scale transistors, quantum wires and quantum circuits. Fundamental concepts of dopant ordering, device reproducibility and the key role that surface interface chemistry has on device operation are being addressed in close consultation with leading semiconductor corporations. The ultimate goal of this program is to couple atomic-scale lithography in silicon with molecular electronics

  • Optoelectronics
    Optoelectronics is an area of physics which is fundamental to a number of applications, including the two fastest growing areas: telecommunications and computers. In this group, we study novel optoelectronic materials using various forms of laser spectroscopy. Contact: Prof. Mike Gal
    , Dr. Peter Reece

  • Mesoscopic Physics and Quantum Electronic Devices
    The QED group investigates how the laws of quantum mechanics completely change the electrical and magnetic properties of nanoscale semiconductor devces. Experiments with ultra-low noise electronics on nanostructures cooled with dilution refrigerators to 0.01 Kelvin, in magnetic fields up to 18 Tesla, allow exciting glimpses into the fundamental physics of quantum wires and quantum dots, and are of potential importance for the future of spintronics and nanoelectronics. See the QED website for further details. Contact: Professor Alex Hamilton, Dr. Adam Micolich, Professor Richard Newbury.

  • Microscopy and Microanalysis
    Microscopy and microanalytical techniques allow the microstructures of technologically important condensed matter and their useful properties to be investigated with high spatial resolution and high sensitivity. Microscopy and microanalysis underpins developments in nanoscience and technology. Contact A/Professor Marion Stevens-Kalceff.

  • Facilities
    The department has an exceptional array of equipment housed in eight dedicated laboratories:
    • Three dilution refrigerators allow quantum effects to be studied in nanoscale semiconductor devices under extreme conditions (temperature down to 0.02K, magnetic fields to 17 Tesla, and high pressures).
    • A Multiprobe Scanning Tunnelling microscope with atomic resolution allows atomic scale devices to be created and electrical measurements to be performed in-situ
    • Two Raman laser laboratories are used to study the properties of strongly correlated electron systems in transition metal oxide materials.
    • Photoluminescence spectrometers and a femtosecond laser system are used to study the optical properties of semiconductor quantum wells and nanowires.
    • UNSW's Semiconductor Nanofabrication Facility is housed in the same building as the School of Physics, and provides full clean-room facilities for fabricating silicon and GaAs devices with feature sizes down to 10nm.
    • Nuclear reactors in Australia and overseas are used to study structural and magnetic properties of novel materials

  • Collaborations
    Members of the Department collaborate extensively, including: joint memberships with the Centre of Excellence in Quantum Computer Technology, the Department of Theoretical Physics, and the Department of Biophysics. The Department has a high profile internationally. Students are encouraged to participate in international collaborations, which include partners in Denmark, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

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