The London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) is now, literally, the coolest place in central London, thanks to a recent addition to its pool of sophisticated scientific equipment.
At very low temperatures, electrons behave according to the principle of quantum mechanics, and individual quantum states of these electrons can be explored.
A number of interesting research topics can be covered at low temperatures, including, the formation of arrays of electrons, called 'Wigner Lattices', in the transition between one and two dimensions. The behaviour of electron spins in materials can be studied, and new concepts for formation and read-out of qubit information developed.
In order to enable these studies, a new state-of-the-art dilution refrigerator system, the Triton-200 built by Oxford Instruments, has been installed in the laboratory of Professor Sir Michael Pepper, which achieves temperatures down to 8.5 milliKelvin, only a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius).
A number of major research institutions, companies and universities are now interested in the field of quantum information, which has developed into an important part of nanotechnology. The range of new experiments possible includes the study the behaviour of electrons in semiconductor nanostructures, with particular importance for future quantum information systems.
Oxford Instruments Triton 200: