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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
semiconductor physics

Semiconductor Physics : Group Website : Staff

The Semiconductor Physics Group (SP) uses semiconductor devices to investigate phenomena in fundamental physics. These investigations often revolve around the observation of effects which can only be explained by the laws of quantu­­m mechanics and often require the control of small numbers of quantum particles such as electrons and photons. The aim is to develop semiconductor devices where quantum effects dominate the device operation, an area of work which has many future applications in science, technology and medicine, including quantum information processing, sensing and imaging technologies.

To achieve these aims the group has developed a range of sophisticated technologies for the fabrication of devices of the highest quality, much of the group’s research relying on the technique of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).  Recent work has seen the start of a number of projects based on carbon electronics.  These rely on using either graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms with very unusual properties, or carbon nanotubes, a single layer of carbon atoms rolled up into a tube structure.

The group also works in collaboration with a number of other researchers at the Cavendish, Material Science and Engineering as well as with many other universities and industrial research laboratories such as Toshiba, TeraView and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Examples of the research undertaken in the group are:

Single and entangled photon sources
Coupled electron-hole gases
Terahertz technology
Quantum computing using surface acoustic waves
Carbon electronics
Gate defined quantum dots


The group has several machines used to manufacture samples for their research. These processes include: