The Applied Physics Research group focuses on studies of structural, magnetic and electronics properties of low dimensional and nanoscale materials, in particular, nanoscale magnetic and semiconductor materials. Much emphasis is put on studies of surfaces and interfaces of magnetic oxides. Certain magnetic oxides have exciting spin electronic properties. For example, the spinel material Fe3O4, known as magnetite, is a half metallic ferromagnet, i.e.a material that is a metal in one of its spin bands and an insulator in the other. As a result, magnetite has significant potential for the future development of information communication technology such as novel electronic devices including spin logic and information storage cells. Understanding the surfaces of these materials and the interface between different oxides is the key to developing their potential.
Our major project at present is centred on a proprietary technique for the growth of regular arrays of nanowires. The technique, called Atomic Terrace Low Angle Shadowing (ATLAS), results in arrays of nanowires of any material. The dimensions of the arrays, i.e. nanowire widthm separation, orientation, etc can be controlled through the deposition parameters. We are investigating semiconducting and magnetic nanowire arrays with the intent of using one or both in the next generation of electronic devices.
Within the group there are three distinct but cooperating sub groups. These can be distinguished as the STM group, the ATLAS group and the CEL group. These groups only indicate the primary research undertaken within each group and do not constitute a fractured group structure.
Cleaner Energy Lab
The Applied Physics Research Group recently initiated the Cleaner Energy Lab, dedicated to research in all facets of cleaner energy technologies. The lab was opened in December 2008 and is located in the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus on Pearse Street.