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SEK 18 million for unique materials project

Certain characteristics of a material can be negatively affected because it contains different variants of the elements composing it, namely isotopes. Researchers at LiU are now making a bid to be the first in the world to create ‘isotope-pure’ material for such things as power electronics, insulation for nuclear fuel, and developing quantum computers.

The project was inaugurated with an initial contribution of SEK 18 million from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

“We received a grant for two years’ research with the possibility of an extension for a further three years,” says Erik Janzén, professor of semiconductor materials and main applicant for the project.

Janzén and some 50 employees have worked for years with the semiconductor silicon carbide, which has several important advantages over silicon. But since silicon occurs in three stable isotopes and carbon in two, it is difficult to verify its structure exactly. Producing material from only one silicon isotope (28Si) and only one carbon isotope (12C), dramatically improves its characteristics for electronics with high energy, frequency, and temperature. Other applications could be spintronics (the basis for quantum computers) and insulation for nuclear fuel.

Another part of the project is focused on the elements boron and titanium, which in isotope-pure form could be highly significant for detecting neutrons and photons. The project will collaborate with the new ESS research laboratory in Lund.

Experts in semiconductor materials, thin film physics, and theoretical physics will operate the research jointly. Janzén has three other professors from LiU on his team:

“It will be great to gather forces from several disciplines in this challenging project,” Janzén says.

Erik Janzén 013-281797

Åke Hjelm Wed Oct 05 08:25:00 CEST 2011

LiU magazine

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Last updated: Tue Jun 07 07:54:13 CEST 2016