[ASC-media] Australasian Science Prize for Novel Quantum Devices

Australasian Science science at control.com.au
Tue Nov 7 14:12:21 CET 2006


EMBARGO: 11 am, Wednesday 8 November 2006

Australasian Science Prize for Novel Quantum Devices

Australian research with the potential to revolutionise the storage and
processing of information has earned a team from the University of NSW the
Australasian Science Prize for 2006. The Prize is being announced and
presented on Wednesday 8 November to Associate Professor Alex Hamilton on
behalf of the Quantum Electronic Devices Group for ³developing quantum
semiconductor devices that use holes instead of electrons².

The Australasian Science Prize was established in 2000 by the region¹s only
monthly science magazine to reward outstanding research by individuals or
small groups. Applicants are nominated and refereed by leading scientists on
research published in peer-reviewed journals. Criteria include originality,
depth of impact and evidence of effective communication.

The work of Hamilton and his team (Dr Warrick Clarke, Dr Romain Danneau, Mr
Lap-Hang Ho, Mr Oleh Klochan, Dr Adam Micolich, Prof Michelle Simmons, Mr
Tom Sobey and Dr Carlin Yasin) is a step towards building spin-based
transistors and electronic circuits for faster and more energy-efficient
computers. They have found ways to manipulate the magnetic ³spin² of holes
in semiconductors. Since these holes can be used to carry current just like
electrons, this may make it possible to have transistors that switch on and
off magnetically, a far faster and more energy-efficient process than the
present electrical methods.

Prof Michael Kelly (Prince Philip Professor of Technology in the University
of Cambridge, UK) says: ³Alex Hamilton has an international reputation as a
leader in the field of quantum electronics and his work in quantum computing
has made a major contribution. Alex developed a novel form of in-situ
back-gating that added a whole new degree of freedom to the experiments that
could be performed with the high mobility GaAs transistors that form the
basis of many quantum electronic devices, and led to a number of notable
research firsts².

Prof David Neilson of the University of Camerino, Italy, who is a former
Professor at UNSW and collaborator with Hamilton, says: ³Alex Hamilton and
his QED Group¹s meticulous work on the nature of electrical conduction in
Œfield effect transistors¹ (the electronic devices that provide the basic
building blocks in modern electronic chips) has given us tremendous insight
into understanding this most fundamental process of their operation. His
brilliance as a practical experimentalist is matched by a highly original
intellect from which flows a continual stream of extremely elegant new
ideas.²

The award comes on the back of other good news for the group. Micolich and
Hamilton were recently awarded a discovery grant of $1.3 million from the
Australian Research Council to extend their research on GaAs nanostructure
devices. Hamilton has been awarded a 5-year ARC Professorial Fellowship, and
Micolich has won a "Young Tall Poppy" Award from the Australian Institute of
Policy & Science. Meanwhile the research continues, with PhD student
Lap-hang Ho conducting a unique series of experiments on coupled hole
devices, and Oleh Klochan continuing experiments on a new generation of hole
quantum wires.

A story on the team¹s research is published in the Nov/Dec issue of
Australasian Science.

Please credit AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE as the source of this story.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
PRESENTATION OF THE PRIZE
Reporters will be welcome at the presentation ceremony, when Professor
Michael Archer, Dean of Science, and A/Professor Richard Newbury, Head of
the School of Physics, will speak about the significance of the research.
Guy Nolch, Editor of Australasian Science, will present the Prize.
A/Professor Hamilton will respond.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006
11.30 am to 12.30 pm
School of Physics Common Room
Room 64, Old Main Building
UNIVERSITY OF NSW
 
PHOTO & FILM OPPORTUNITIES
The QED lab offers excellent visual possibilities and location for
interviews with its spectacular high vacuum apparatus that enables the
experiments at the quantum (or sub-atomic) level. An informative album of
microscopic images with captions that explain how the team works at
increasingly minute levels can be emailed on request.


CONTACTS
A/Prof Alex Hamilton can be contacted on (02) 9385 5736.

Interviews can be arranged by contacting Dan Gaffney of UNSW¹s Faculty of
Science (0411 156 015), who can also coordinate access for
photography/filming.

Prof Michael Kelly can be contacted on ph +44 1223 748 303; mobile +44 7876
251 404; email mjkl at cam.ac.uk

Prof David Neilson can be contacted on ph.+39 0737 402 519; mobile
+39-320-4381336; email david.neilson at unicam.it

Guy Nolch (Editor) can be contacted on 0417 324 394

Dr Peter Pockley (Senior Correspondent) can be contacted on (02) 9660 6363




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