Physics in perspective lecture 2012

Nanotechnology is technology that is smaller than the width of a human hair.

Dr. Hancock started her lecture by talking about how far we have come since ENIAC (1946), the first general purpose programmable digital electronic computer and how technology has got smaller and smaller. She then went on to talk about where the technology is going such as flexible/stretchable electronics to make foldable displays. Graphene is the material that may allow this to happen.

The lecture then continued with the progress made on artificial quantum systems and an explanation of the quantum dot. A quantum dot is a small group of atoms that fluoresce with different colours.

Electrons are an important part of quantum systems and you need to bear in mind that electrons have two types of “spin” (up and down).

Electrons that feel their environment are said to be well dressed.

Dr Hancock then reminded us about wave particle duality and how electrons have wave like behaviour (as proposed by Louis de Broglie) and light has particle like behaviour (photoelectric effect).

Below is a summary of the experimental evidence that light can behave as a wave and a particle. Einstein was responsible for explaining the photoelectric effect.

Electrons can also be diffracted which shows they have wave like behaviour.

The electron wavelength can be of the order of nanometres.

Electrons can be imagined as confined in a box with a standing wave form.

As you progress through the periodic table the energy levels increase and get closer together.

Electron microscopy uses the wave properties of the electrons.

Some of the uses of nanotechnology include a treatment for cancer and Angela Belcher at MIT is using viruses to make a battery.

Dr Hancock the quantum mechanic (nice white overall).

You need to control how atoms grow and be able to rearrange them. You need to select your electrons. Thin atomic layers manipulate the spin of electrons. You need to be able to literally destroy a particle and re-make it in a different state.

Electrons have spins (they don’t really spin) are either up or down. Two electrons are “happy” if they are next to each other with opposite spins.

Quantum circuits are connected to the outside world (power supply) by tiny wires.

The lecture

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