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Physics and Astronomy

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials Group

Quantum transport in nanostructures laboratory
>PhD. place
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Devices for fundamental research and biological applications

In 2004 an unexpected, new material was discovered that has taken the physics world by storm: pencil shavings.  The graphite in pencils is made of a stack of atomically thin sheets. The discovery was that one sheet of atoms could be peeled away from the rest to make a unique two-dimensional material:graphene.  Electrons in graphene are extremely unusual: for instance, they behave as if they have no mass, more like light than particles, and are described by relativistic quantum mechanics.

Our laboratory specialises in measurements of electricity in nano-scale materials to discover the fundamental processes that underlie conduction.  We were one of the first in the world to study graphene experimentally (see website for publications).  The techniques we use include optical, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy, and transport measurements at temperatures from 0.03 to 300K and magnetic fields up to 18T.

The PhD project is to devise new graphene structures for fundamental and applied research.  As the addition of molecules onto the surface of graphene has a dramatic effect on its conductance, realising a device that works as a biological sensor with single-molecular sensitivity is just one of the directions this PhD will explore.


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