University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Condensed Matter Seminar

Thursday, February 14th 2008
1:25 pm:
Condensed Matter Seminar in 210 Physics
Speaker: Dr. M. Grobis, Stanford University
Subject: Quantum Wave Functions: Decoherence and Spatial Characteristics

Abstract The advent of quantum mechanics last century was a tremendous step forward in our understanding of the natural world. The new understanding ushered in a wave of new technologies based on quantum mechanical principles, such as lasers, transistors, and magnetic resonance imaging devices. Researchers today are trying to develop novel technologies that use single quantum states as fundamental building blocks rather than statistical ensembles. In addition to the difficulty of manipulating quantum sized objects, an overarching problem in working with single quantum states is the short time scale over which their stored information is randomized due to interactions with the environment, a phenomena known as decoherence. In the first part of my talk I will present my experimental measurements of the decoherence times of electron states in mesoscopic quantum dots. My work aims to resolve some of the mysterious discrepancies seen in earlier measurements in this system. In the second part of my talk I will present my work of studying and manipulating of the spatial properties of the electron wave functions using the scanning tunneling microscope. This work shows the possibilities for creating novel quantum structures that can lend insight into quantum theories and might prove useful in future device applications.

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