Notre Dame Center for Materials Fabrication & Nanotechnology
Development of new materials and their design are at the heart of contemporary technology, from the semiconductor chip and lasers for various applications, to the design of entirely new man-made multi-functional materials for new detectors and new types of computation (e.g., quantum computing). Most of these applications involve either semiconductors or magnetics.
State-of-the-art materials fabrication techniques allow researchers to create “designer materials” that are built-up atom-by-atom into an architecture required by the specific function that is being sought. Notre Dame has been a pioneer in the development of materials which combine both semiconducting and magnetic functions, thus allowing one to integrate both those functions into a single designer material. This is accomplished by the technique of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), where atoms are directed “on demand” to create desired atomic configurations aimed at performing specific operations. Our MBE facility has been at the forefront of designing and fabricating new multifunctional materials, including quantum structures for semiconductor blue laser systems, and most recently also materials that combine electronic and magnetic properties, with an eye at their future applications in the emerging field of spin-electronics (“spintronics”). The MBE Laboratory at Notre Dame collaborates on a continuous basis with over 50 other research institutions – Universities, Industry, and National Government Laboratories – both by providing research materials and by sharing our expertise with scientists in those institutions.
The MBE Laboratory for Materials Fabrication and Nanotechnology at Notre Dame is directed by Jacek K. Furdyna, Marquez Professor of Physics. Professor Furdyna is a Fellow of the American Physical Society andis the 2002 recipient of the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Warsaw. His work on spin entanglement, carried out in collaboration with scientists at the University of Michigan on materials fabricated in the MBE Laboratory, has been listed by The Discover Magazine as one of the most significant scientific achievements of 2003.