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Final Activity Report Summary - RTNNANO (Fundamentals of nanoelectronics)

It is now widely accepted that the physics of hybrid nanostructures will underpin the microelectronics industry of the coming decades and that Europe must maintain a presence at the leading edge of this field. The theoretical work undertaken in this network has focussed on fundamental phenomena involving superconducting, magnetic, semiconducting, molecular and carbon-based nanostructures, all of which are currently attracting world-wide attention. The research carried out underpins many areas of nanoelectronics and will help to create the necessary knowledge for a society in which microelectronics is gradually replaced by nanoelectronics.

The coming together of the hitherto distinct fields of mesoscopic physics, superconductivity, magnetism and molecular electronics has led to the discovery of a range of new physical phenomena involving quantum dots, quantum wires, carbon nanotubes and molecular point contacts. Many of these share generic properties arising from the presence of phase-coherent dynamics and correlations. By bringing-together world-leading experts studying these phenomena in different contexts, RTNNANO has provided a forum for the cross-fertilisation of theoretical techniques and the exploration of emerging themes.

Together we have produced approximately 170 joint publications (over 25 of which are in Physical Review Letters, Nature, Science or Europhysics Letters) and trained a new generation of E.U.-funded pre- and postdoctoral researchers in the theory of nanoscale dynamics.

The forefront of the field of nanoscale physics is moving ahead at a breathtaking pace and RTNANO has helped to sustain Europe's leading scientific position in nanoelectronics. The research is aligned with the Strategic Research Agenda of the European Technology Platform ENIAC, (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council) which states: "It is clear that for the development of highly integrated miniaturised products, very strong interdisciplinary cooperation is needed from the earliest development phases. For Europe to achieve world leadership in [nanoelectronics] research and development and maintain high value-added next-generation production processes, it must provide a research environment and infrastructure capable of supporting visionary and industrially relevant research activities."

The research activities of RTNNANO have also focussed on phenomena underpinning modern nanoelectronics and in particular on the theoretical skills needed to address fundamental problems at the far reaches of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which identifies nanoscale modelling and simulation as one of the "difficult challenges" facing the industry. During 2006, both the European Science Foundation and the European Commission Future and Emerging Technologies Programme conducted Forward Looks on the future of nanoelectronics. The outcomes of these were reported at the European Forum on Nanosciences, Brussels, December 2006. Both of these acknowledge that a transition to sub-10nm electronics will require fundamental understanding of nanowires, quantum dots, carbon-based electronics, (using carbon nanotubes, graphene and/or single molecules), new information carriers (eg spin and quantum phase), along with interaction and proximity effects in small dimensions. By bringing-together world-leading experts studying these phenomena, RTNNANO has helped to create the fundamental knowledge needed to address these challenges and create a unique training environment for enhancing the career prospects of ESRs.

By working together we have achieved a level of visibility unattainable by a single team and made major advances ahead of competitors in the United States and Japan. RTNNANO has also stimulated number of new collaborations, supported by national and European programmes, including the European Science Foundation and Framework 6, and generated many new interdisciplinary interactions.

Reported by

University of Lancaster
LA1 4YW Lancaster
United Kingdom
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