Like a baseball player sliding into third, a hot monomer skids in a straight line along a cold surface until it’s safely among its fellow molecules.
This is not what usually happens when scientists assemble monomers to make thin films for next-generation electronics, but the details remained a puzzle until a team of researchers from Rice University and the University of Maryland got involved. In this case, the monomers are organic molecules that form clusters and eventually complete layers. The researchers devised the first detailed model to quantify what they believe was the last unknown characteristic of film formation, through physical vapor deposition on a mica surface cleaved with adhesive tape and then placed in an ultra-high vacuum chamber. Their work was published Dec. 10, 2014 in the journal Physical Review Letters.
“Our model shows that the growth of monomer islands and the evolution of nanostructures on surfaces can be far more subtle than commonly thought,” said Theodore L. Einstein, a UMD physics professor.
Four members of the Department of Physics have won major awards from the American Physical Society, the nation's largest professional organization of physicists. The scientists are Gretchen Campbell, Christopher Monroe, Edward Redish and Ian Spielman; each honored in a different category.
Gretchen Campbell, Adjunct Assistant Professor, won the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award. She was chosen for “her pioneering contributions to the study of superfluidity in atomic-gas Bose-Einstein condensates, realizing atomic analogs to superconducting and superfluid liquid circuitry, including the use of weak links to create the first closed-circuit atomtronic devices.”
Campbell was an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Jun Ye's group at NIST, Boulder. She joined the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) as a Fellow in 2009 and currently runs two laboratories: one at NIST and one at UMD. At NIST, her lab studies superfluidity in an atomtronic circuit. Atomtronics is an emerging technology whereby atoms play the role of information carriers, analogous to electrons in conventional circuitry. Campbell’s lab has led the research progress in this area.
The Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC) recently hosted its 2014 Fall Symposium on campus. For 6 days in November faculty, postdocs and students highlighted the frontier areas of quantum condensed matter theory. The symposium was open to the public and attendees included current and former CMTC members.
The CMTC Fall Symposium, usually a week-long annual event, is held every year in October/November with talks by all CMTC members introducing everybody to the broad intellectual themes being actively pursued by the theorists at the Center.