The theory of thermodynamics, commonly associated with the steam engines of the 19th century, is a universal set of laws that governs everything from black holes to the evolution of life. Albert Einstein was convinced it was the only theory likely to “never be overthrown.” But at small scales and very cold temperatures, quantum laws apply, and so concepts like temperature and work lose their usual meaning. In the same way that thermodynamics helped to improve classical steam engines, the emergence of quantum machines is forcing us to re-imagine this theory in the quantum realm.
This project aims to build an experimental platform to explore the thermodynamics of small devices operating in the quantum regime. We will build engines in which the “steam” is one electron, and the piston is a tiny semiconductor wire: a carbon nanotube.
This EPSRC-funded 3.5 year DPhil in Materials DTP studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home fee status (this status includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study). Candidates with EU fee status are eligible for a fees-only award, but normally would have to provide funding for their living costs from another source such as personal funds or a scholarship. The stipend will be at least £16,009 per year. Information on fee status can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/fees-and-funding/fees-and-other-charges.
Candidates are considered in the January 2020 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 24 January 2020.