CAREER: Collective transport near quantum critical points in superconducting nanostructures
Sambandamurthy Ganapathy Principal Investigator
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Technical Abstract:<br/>This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Faculty Early Career Award funds a proposal that seeks to make significant impact on our current understanding of the physics of quantum phase transitions (QPT) in superconducting nanostructures. Nanometer scale indium oxide devices with precisely engineered structural and transport characteristics will be utilized to probe the subtle interplay between disorder and interaction across the superconductor-insulator QPT. These experiments will provide explicit information about the microscopic conduction mechanisms when the transition is tuned via disorder, density or magnetic field in one and two-dimensional devices. The results will improve our current understanding of the phase coherence and emergence of novel collective phases near quantum critical points. Research is closely integrated with the education component of the proposal: an undergraduate laboratory experiment to explore quantum nature of electrons will be developed and hands-on research opportunities will be provided to a broader group including high school science teachers in the Buffalo region. The education plan also seeks to improve the learning experience of students in undergraduate introductory physics courses through a variety of modern teaching methods. <br/><br/>Non-technical Abstract:<br/>This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The goal of this Faculty Early Career Award is to effectively combine experimental research to explore quantum phases near critical points in superconducting nanostructures with education and outreach programs to train a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students and high school teachers. The research proposal will seek an unprecedented control in engineering the microstructure and property of the material used (indium oxide) and the transport measurements in nanodevices proposed herein are expected to transform our current understanding of quantum phases in one and two-dimensional systems. The integrated educational aspects will involve several projects closely related to the research activities in the PI?s group. A new undergraduate laboratory experiment for learning the basic concept of quantum nature of electrons will be developed with the help of undergraduate students at the university or K-12 physics teachers in the Buffalo region. Modern teaching methods will be implemented in introductory physics courses for non-majors, thereby improving the learning experience and scientific awareness among a wider student body. The results of the research and educational activities will be disseminated to the general public through participation in local art festivals and New York State?s STEP program.