This project is situated between two groups of the Laboratory of Solid State Physics and Magnetism: the Nanoscale Superconductivity & Magnetism (NSM) Group and the Clusters and Laser Spectroscopy (CLASS) Group. Both of them playing a leading role in their field of research. By combining the expertise of two young and dynamic researchers, allocated in the aforementioned groups (Prof. J. Van de Vondel, NSM and Prof. E. Janssens, CLASS) this PhD project will benefit from the combined expertise in order to explore a new and exciting field in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Phd: Fabrication and characterization of a single cluster transistor
The ability to make nanometer sized electrical contacts creates opportunities to examine fundamental processes governing electron flow on the smallest possible length scales. Recent results in the fabrication of (sub)nanometer gaps and quantum point contacts using, e.g.,mechanically controlled break junctions and electromigration, show a lot of potential to obtain these nanoscale electrical contacts. As a result, these types of nanocontacts were used to create so called single molecule transistors and their conductance could be measured as a function of various external parameters (e.g. magnetic field, back-gate voltage). This new class of nanotransistors has drastically improved our understanding of single spin magnetism and Kondo correlations, which could be used for future nanospintronics.
Besides molecules other nano-objects can be considered as building blocks for such ultimately small transistors. An appealing possibility are small metallic nanoclusters, which can be produced with a high degree of control over their size and composition using a gas phase cluster source. The aim of this research project is to fabricate and measure single cluster transistors. These devices together with the tunability in cluster production (number and type of atoms) will be used to investigate the evolution of the electronic properties (e.g. superconductivity) on the exact number of atoms and develop a new type of nanomaterials with intriguing new functionalities.
This project is mainly an experimental work using state-of-the-art nanofabrication and characterization tools: clean room facilities (electron beam lithography), in-situ electromigration, cluster deposition and electrical characterization under extreme conditions (i.e. low temperatures and high magnetic fields).
For this position we are searching for an excellent and highly motivated candidate with a Master degree in Physics (or equivalent) and with interest in solid state physics, chemical physics, and quantum mechanics. The candidate should have a good knowledge of English.
The initial contract is for one year and, following standard practice at KU Leuven, shall be prolonged with a period of three years after positive evaluation. The net monthly salary is according to the governmental regulations and depends on the applicant's work experience but is not less than 1800 Euro for applicants that receive approval from the Arenberg DoctoralSchool to start a PhD at KU Leuven. The starting date of the position is October1st, (2014), but flexibility towards a later date is possible.