Optical Quantum Control of Molecular States

Several drawbacks have plagued the field of molecular electronics, up to now. For example the molecules cannot be placed into junctions in a controlled and reproducible way. Thus no control over the mutual direction of the electron flow and the magnetization is achieved. Reproducibility of the measurements is a long-lasting problem in single-molecule electronics, and doubts over what is really measured sometimes arise. Moreover we have no idea on what is the effect of the electron flow on the magnetic properties of a molecule, while one can easily imagine that the passage of electrons will strongly affect the magnetic properties. In this DPhil thesis the candidate will develop a new, original method of measuring interaction between one single spin and one flowing electron: Instead of using two bulk electrodes and place the molecule in between, we will grow two photoactive groups on the two sides of the molecule. When a light pulse is shone on the system electron flow from one group to the other occurs, and the effect can be detected via pulsed at GHz frequencies. This allows overcoming all the aforementioned problems, providing the candidate with an insuperably clean, time-resolved method to investigate electron-spin interactions. The thesis is strongly multidisciplinary and candidates from materials, chemistry and physics will be welcome. The work is developed in the context of national and European collaborations, so different aspects can be privileged depending on the interests and attitude of the candidate. Visits and learning periods to international laboratories can also be arranged. You will join an active and lively laboratory with an international atmosphere, and will be assisted in developing a personal vision and an autonomous scientific profile, as well as possible industrial links and scientific collaborations. Please refer directly to Lapo Bogani for details.

The description above outlines a possible new research project being offered to prospective new postgraduate students.

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