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Prof Michelle Y. Simmons
Scientia Professor of Physics, University of New South Wales
Centre Director & Work-Package Leader
Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology
Tel: (02) 9385 6313
Michelle Simmons obtained a double degree in physics and chemistry and was awarded a PhD in Physics from Durham University, UK in 1992. Her Postdoctoral position was as a Research Fellow in quantum electronics at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, UK where she gained an international reputation for her work in the discovery of the ‘0.7 feature’ and metallic behaviour in 2D Gas hole systems. In 1999, she was awarded a QEII Fellowship and came to Australia where she was a founding member of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology.
Since then she has established a large research group dedicated to the fabrication of atomic-scale devices in silicon and germanium using the atomic precision of a scanning tunneling microscope. Her group is the only group world-wide that can make atomically precise devices in silicon: they have developed the world’s thinnest conducting doped wires in silicon, and the ability to manipulate and electronically measure devices with atomically precise dopant placement. She has published more than 330 papers in refereed journals with an h-index of 37 including 26 Physical Review Letters and papers in Nature, Science, Nature Physics and Nature Nanotechnology. In 2005 she was awarded the Pawsey Medal by the Australian Academy of Science and in 2006 became one of the youngest elected Fellows of this Academy.
Michelle has been the Chair of the National Committee for Physics, who released the 2012 decadal plan for physics in Australia. She serves on numerous Advisory Boards including the Advisory Board of American Chemical Society Nano Letters and Nanotechnology; Expert Advisory Board Sandia National Laboratories; Review Board, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and was recently appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel for the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in New Zealand. In 2008 she was awarded a second Federation Fellowship and in 2012 was the NSW Scientist of the Year.
The Solid State Quantum Computer
Professor Simmons heads a large group in atomic electronics in Sydney, whose ultimate aim is to fabricate the phosphorus in silicon qubit architecture one atomic layer at a time. Working with unique combined scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) systems, her team have achieved several major milestones in the development of STM-patterned devices, putting them at the forefront of this field. Current research focuses on coherent charge transfer between single and coupled quantum dots for with the goal of realizing prototype architectures for a solid state quantum computer in silicon.
Atomic-scale Devices in Silicon
In addition to the fabrication of quantum computer prototype devices, a new program has been established to exploit the technology developed to build conventional transistors in silicon at the atomic level. This program is developing atomic-scale devices in silicon with applications appropriate to and beyond quantum computation, including atomic-scale transistors, quantum wires and quantum circuits. Fundamental concepts of dopant ordering, device reproducibility and the key role that surface interface chemistry has on device operation are being addressed in close consultation with leading semiconductor corporations. The ultimate goal of this program is to couple atomic-scale lithography in silicon with molecular electronics.
Quantum Electronic Devices
Professor Simmons also has parallel research interests in the experimental investigation of quantum effects in extremely high quality GaAs based semiconductor devices. As electronic devices have become smaller and purer, interaction effects between the individual charge carriers become significant and dominate the physics of these systems. Her research here concentrates on understanding the fundamental nature of electrical conduction in high quality two-dimensional (2D) and one-dimensional (1D) GaAs-based electron and hole transistors. This work led to the classification of a new effect now known as the “0.7 structure” which remains the subject of intense investigation to understand the fundamental physics of one-dimensional systems.
Centre Related Publications
Center Publications for Prof Michelle Y. Simmons