Richard Feynman, in a 1959 talk entitled "There's Room at the Bottom,"
challenged physicists to explore the field we now call nanotechnology.
His vision was the control of materials on the atomic scale, a key
technology for future electronic, optoelectronic and electromechanical
devices. Since then we have learned how to pattern devices on the
sub-micron scale, devices which form the basis of all modern electronics
that in turn makes possible much of our information economy. Now
we are starting to realize Feynman's original goal of truly working
on the nanometer scale. This reduction in the size of semiconductor
devices will lead to faster, smaller computers, denser information
storage, and perhaps new technologies not yet imagined. Moreover
we recognize nanotechnology as not just an intriguing possibility,
but rather as a necessity for our economic competitiveness.
In spite of this tremendous potential, our fundamental understanding of
material science on this scale is still in its infancy. Our vision for
the Center for Semiconductor Physics in Nanostructures is to design and
control the growth and behavior of these new systems by bringing together
our individual research efforts into a collaborative whole.
Our research is split into two Interdisciplinary Research Groups
IRG 1: Growing layers of semiconductor that
are smooth on the atomic scale is a tall order. Here is a scanning
tunneling microscope (STM) image of an island of As a single atom
high, on a GaAs surface.
- IRG1 focuses on the creation of nanoscale structures, such
as dots and wires, by many different approaches.
- IRG2 researches how to make extremely smooth interfaces,
allowing for smaller quantum well heterostructures.
IRG2: There are many ways to make small
structures. One intriguing possibility is to create them chemically
in a colloidal suspension. Pictured here are CdSe dots that have
been precipitated into a periodic structure.