Nanoscience and Quantum Computing: The flow of electronic spin and the coming quantum computer revolution

Coordinators: David D. Awschalom

Most of our experience with the flow of electrons is through the flow of charge - from natural events like lightning to the controlled circulation of electrons to power everything from a computer to a toaster. Each electron, however, behaves as if it is internally spinning. This property has been known for decades to lead to the permanent magnetism of materials like iron. In the last fifteen years, however, there has been an explosion of interest in the flow of oriented electron spins. The speakers in this conference will describe how the flow of these spins are already being used to read the media in computer hard drives, and have been used to "switch" the orientation of small permanent magnets. They will also describe how the quantum mechanical nature of a single electron spin can be used to suggest remarkable new types of computers. These "quantum computers" would take full advantage of the possibilities of quantum mechanics to look through an entire database simultaneously to find a single piece of information, or to crack cryptographic problems that have stumped mathematicians for over a century.


Robert Buhrman is The John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering, Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University.He is also the Director of the Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems. He was the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility's associate director from 1981 through 1983, and is currently the chairman of its executive committee. Dr. Buhrman has served on various national committees and advisory boards, and is active as a consultant in the area of applied physics. His research focuses on nanomagnetics and condensed matter physics at the nanometer scale.

James Eisenstein is the Roshek Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Eisenstein is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and an expert in electronic transport in semiconductor nanostructures. He has had extensive experience at Bell Laboratories before his appointment at Caltech, and strong connections with condensed matter theory.

Stephan von Molnar is the Robert A. Kromhout Professor of Physics at the Florida State University and Director of the Center for Materials Research and Technology. His interests include experimental studies of electronic systems, transport in magnetic semiconductors, nanomagnetics, and the fabrication of magnetic nanostructures and the development of tools for their magnetic characterization.

John Preskill is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Director of the Center for the Physics of Information. His research interests focus on quantum information science, quantum computation, and quantum coding theory.

Stuart Wolf is a Professor of Materials Science, Engineering and Physics at the University of Virginia, and Directorof the Center for Spins in Quantum Electronic Science and Technology (SpinQuEST). He spent more than 20 years at the Naval Research Laboratory both as a scientist and manager with research interests in superconductivity and magnetism. At the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) he managed a large portfolio of Material Physics based programs in Spintronics and Quantum Information Science and Technology.
We have a limited budget to provide assistance for participants' travel and local expenses. Please complete the appropriate space on the registration form if you would like to be considered for financial support.