During the past 15 years, one of Scandinavia’s largest centres for nanophysics and nanoengineering has been built up at a division of the Department of Physics formerly engaged mainly in solid state physics research. Through the establishment of the The Nanometer Structure Consortium, fruitful interdisciplinary contacts have been established in several areas.
Nanophysics is the study of the fundamental properties of nanostructures, electronic structures and related optical and electronic phenomena, both theoretical and experimental. The optical properties of quantum structures and single molecules are being studied using laser spectroscopy, as well as other kinds of spectroscopy. Transport properties are also being studied at very low temperatures in high magnetic fields.
Materials science includes advanced processing techniques such as lithography, as well as the study of the growth of nanostructures using thin films (epitaxy), or nanocrystals (i.e. zero- or one-dimensional quantum structures). Research is directed towards the design and realization of materials and structures whose properties are determined by quantum physical phenomena. Research is also carried out on advanced manipulation on the nanometre scale, and various methods of materials analysis.
Nanoscience is the term used to describe applied nanophysics in a large number of interdisciplinary areas, mainly electronics, photonics and biophysics. Biosensors, thought-controlled prostheses and the interaction between biomolecules and nanostructures are examples of such areas. Component physics and techniques for high-velocity electronics and electronics based on quantum mechanical tunnelling phenomena are also being developed. The use of nanoelectronics in the life sciences is an extremely promising future area of research, including, for example, the development of sensors for the study and manipulation of single molecules, molecular motors and neural chip applications. The areas of biophysics and electronics/photonics are expanding rapidly.
In the 5-year MSc in Engineering programme in Engineering Nanoscience, the first of its kind in the country, the application of nanotechnology in biology, medicine and engineering is being developed. This programme is expected to have considerable importance in the recruiting of postgraduate students in the future.