[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

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.

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
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.

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

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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