Jeroen Elzerman receives Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

Dr Jeroen Elzerman of the London Centre for Nanotechnology has been awarded the prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the award aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

Dr Jeroen Elzerman’s award will support his research into “Quantum photonics with spins in semiconductor nanostructures”. He notes “Conventional photonic and electronic devices typically operate according to the classical laws of physics. However, both light and matter are ultimately governed by quantum mechanics. I will set up a group at the LCN and the UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering Department to develop a new class of photonic devices that take advantage of quantum behaviour to do things that no classical device can.”

The group will focus on semiconductors incorporating nanometer-sized structures in which single electrons can be confined. Rather than using the electrons’ charge, the aim will be to control their “spin”, the property that makes them act as tiny magnets. Elzerman says “It has already been shown that the quantum state of a single electron spin can be manipulated using lasers; the challenge now is doing the same for multiple spins interacting with each other. This is a difficult task, but it would have a large impact. For instance, coupling just a few dozen spins could already allow for applications such as efficiently simulating the behaviour of complicated molecules, which would aid enormously in the systematic design of new medicines.”

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