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The LCN (London Center for Nanotechnology) - a joint initiative of the UCL (University College London) and Imperial College London - is leading two international projects to develop radically novel approaches to create miniature computing systems that require less power and offer totally stable data storage, among other benefits.
The technology, known as 'spintronics', is based on taking advantage of the properties of the magnetic 'spin' of individual molecules or atoms, as well as the electronic charges at this level in metals and other materials used in traditional electronics.
The LCN researchers will work with colleagues from Peking University and Tsinghua University to investigate molecular nanospintronics and with the University of Surrey to investigate silicon-based spintronics. Both projects are funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) or UK Physics and Engineering Research Council and the China Natural Sciences Foundation.
According to Prof. Gabriel Aeppli, LCN Director: “These projects will take our collaborations with two major Chinese universities to new levels. China is an emerging power in advanced research and by collaborating with scientists from different parts of the world, the LCN is contributing to the advancement of nanotechnology ”.
The researchers aim to gain a deep understanding of the nanoscale electronic, magnetic and structural properties of novel spintronic systems made of ultra-fine silicon and organic structures. The latest advances in scanning electron microscopy, carried out by team members, will make it possible to explore these systems at the scale of a single atom or molecule.
A recent example is the ‘Fourth Generation Wireless Communication’ project, a fourth-generation wireless communication project, whose objective is to facilitate scientific exchange, rapid technology development and commercialization of new wireless communication technologies. Another project, within the cleaner fossil fuels program, aims to develop multifunctional nanostructures that can effectively capture carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants in coal-fired power plants.