Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Awschalom, David D.
Location The University of Chicago
Primary Field Applied Physical Sciences
Secondary Field Physics
 Election Citation
Awschalom founded the field known as "spintronics." His research explores the dynamics of the electron, nuclear, and magnetic spins within a variety of engineering nanostructures. He has made fundamental discoveries in electron spin coherence and ultrafast electrical and optical manipulation of quantized spins.
 Research Interests
Our research focuses on developing new experimental techniques aimed at exploring the dynamics of electron, nuclear, and magnetic spins within a variety of atomically engineered nanostructures. The measurements help form the basis for semiconductor spintronics and future quantum information processing technologies. We combine femtosecond optical spectroscopies with low temperature magneto-optical and magnetoelectronic transport techniques in order to perform experiments with high spatial and temporal resolution. Our activities focus on three scientific areas, including (1) Spin dynamics and coherence in the solid state. Here, time-resolved optical experiments are designed to create, transport, and manipulate charge and spin coherences in solid state structures. In particular, we investigate the spatio-temporal evolution of electronic, magnetic, and nuclear spins in three-dimensional and quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures, yielding information on spin scattering, quantization, and tunneling as well as demonstrating coherent spin manipulation by both optical and electrical means; (2) Magnetic semiconductors. Molecular beam epitaxy methods are developed to atomically engineer semiconductor crystals with controlled placement of magnetic ions. Magneto-optical experiments explore the interaction between electrons and magnetic atoms leading to electrically-activated ferromagnetism, and the transfer of electronic states to magnetic spins for subatomic information storage; (3) Quantum information. Experimental schemes are developed for implementing and probing the fundamental mechanisms underlying quantum information in semiconductor-based nanostructures, including information exchange between light and matter, and the creation and manipulation of single electron spin quantum bits.

 
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