Quantum Electronics Device Modelling (QUANTDEVMOD)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

Quantum technology gives the opportunity to open novel scientific and technological possibilities beyond the current physical and conceptual limitations. For example, an entirely new generation of electronic devices, which will allow technology to advance in the post-CMOS era, can be created. These devices will be based on quantum properties of electrons, such as tunnelling through barriers and spin, which will aim to progress in a range of applications from communications, quantum computing and quantum standard for electrical current to a wide spectrum of spintronics and molecular electronics. However, achieving this is challenging and requires developing novel theoretical methods and fabrication processes.

This project aims to combine experiments and simulations to develop a suitable theory and methodology for simulating emerging quantum electronic devices. The main object of research in this proposal will be a single electron transistor (SET). In SETs it is possible to control, with very high precision, the electron flow through the device as individual charges. However, there are still numerous scientific and technical challenges to be overcome in order to create reliable and highly accurate SETs.

This proposal aims to address some of these challenges and to answer a simple yet fundamental question: how do electrons flow through aggregates of atoms (quantum dots) in the context of a single electron transistor? The 'rules' for quantum transport in molecules and crystals with perfect symmetry are relatively well established and provide direction to the ongoing experimental effort. In contrast, a similar set of underpinning principles for quantum dots related to transport is clearly absent.

A guiding principle in my work, which I follow here, is that theory and calculations should be used in synergy with experiments, addressing fundamental issues and providing insight that leads to improvement of the fabrication processes. This project brings together one UK company, the National Physical Laboratory and two research groups in the University of Glasgow to deliver progress in the field of improving the design parameters and performance of SETs.

Planned Impact

(1) Academia and national labs impact
The most obvious impact is expected through the uptake of the developed methods and computational tools by experimental groups in engineering (electrical and quantum) and quantum computing, initially in academic and national laboratories. The PI will advance this uptake through direct collaborations with experimental groups in the University of Glasgow and the National Physical Laboratory. Also, the PI will explore the possibility for collaboration with other experimental groups, for example, at the University of Lancaster (visits are planned). In this way the PI's ideas and results will be passed on to other academics to develop them further.

(2) Economy impact: high tech UK and EU companies
The proposed project combines excellent research with the potential to bring significant dividends to the electronics industry and broader UK economy. The worldwide micro- and nano-electronics market, based principally on semiconductor materials, is currently valued at around $300 billion. Semiconductor components are ubiquitous in everyday life, pervading automotive, medical, industrial and consumer markets as well as data processing and telecommunication sectors. However, advancement in the field requires new materials and device architectures to be translated into new products.

The technologies generated in this research will provide new computational tools and physical models, which could significantly reduce the cost and time of introducing a novel product to the market. Moreover, it will allow the industry and researchers to go beyond the typical semiconductor materials and architectures, which will have a significant impact on research of the 'more than Moore' and 'beyond Moore' technology.
These benefits will be of great interest also to the SMEs and spin-offs that supply CMOS foundries and develop niche applications. These companies will directly utilise and develop some of the technology to create the next generation electronic devices. For instance, the proposed computational tools could have applications in quantum computing, sensors for medical diagnostic and quantum security by significantly reducing the time to market and elaborate the complex scientific and engineering problems in those areas. It could also have an ability to develop new computing paradigms that exploit, at a fundamental level, the new opportunities that multi-level devices currently have.

(3) Societal benefits: education and training
The UK HEIs, students and the general public will also be beneficiaries of this project. Micro- and nano-electronics are all pervasive and very few people do not use any electronic technologies in contemporary society. The new technology developed with the help of my work will improve, for example, capabilities of sensors for health and environmental monitoring.
Specifically, the collaboration and interaction between various researchers proposed in this application will yield great potential teaching and research benefits for the students and the University of Glasgow itself. This is because I plan to hire one post-doctoral researcher (RA) and to apply for additional funding to work with at least one Ph.D. student. The student and the RA will participate in multidisciplinary research that will enable them to become highly skilled engineers with a broad range of skills. These people will then train the next generation of researchers and engineers in the field of quantum technology.
 
Description During this grant I have developed novel simulation methods and computational framework to simulated electron transport in nanowire structures. Also I improved the existing computational methods and improve the speed of our numerical code. Also this grant gave me the opportunity to initiate an industrial collaboration with UK based SME company - Quantum Base Ltd. As a result, I applied for an EPSRC Industrial fellowship where Quantum Base is my main industrial partner.
Exploitation Route My work can be used from experimental groups in the field of nanotechnology and nano-fabrications. Also the develop computational framework could be used from researchers and companies to improve validate their results and to optimise the device design.
Sectors Electronics

 
Description Quantum Simulator for Entangled Nano-Electronics (QSEE)
Amount £609,379 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S001131/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 06/2021
 
Description Professor Robert Young 
Organisation Lancaster University
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I provided simulation and expertise to Prof. Robert Young in order to improve the experiment.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Robert Young (https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/about-us/people/robert-young) from Lancaster University and Quantum Base Ltd. provided experimental data and expertise to calibrate my simulations methods.
Impact For the moment we have one common conference paper
Start Year 2017