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Experimental Nanoscale Physics

Center of Economic Excellence



Award Amount

$4 million

External Funding Above Match

$6 million

University Partner

University of South Carolina

Research Focus

Perform basic and applied research of potential spintronic optoelectronic and nanoelectronic devices and/or materials for futre applications in information processing, high-speed, high-density electronics, and biochemical and radiation sensisng.

Multiple Industry Partners

A component of the University of South Carolina (USC) Nanocenter, the Center concentrates on research in experimental nanoscale physics and is positioning the state to compete in the global future electronics market.

The program has five major focus areas:

  • Synthesis/characterization of nanowires in metals and semiconductors for novel magnetism in electronic circuits
  • Development of high-power LEDs, transistors, and optoelectric properties of materials
  • Development of nanomagnetics, high frequency switching, and spintronics
  • Development of novel superconducting states/materials
  • Discovery of novel concepts for nanoscale sensors for magnetic and structural properties

The Center’s research achievements include progress in understanding the coherence in magnetic nanostructures and the importance of biological systems in potential electronic applications.

To date, the Center has received more than $4 million in federal and private research funding. In 2008, the U.S. Army Research Office renewed its funding for the Center’s sensors program. Center of Economic Excellence faculty, along with 16 national and international scientists, are forming an international materials institute with a concentration in Nanomechanics in Novel Materials. The institute has garnered a number of industrial partners, including a new industrial partnership with IBM T.J. Watson Research Center regarding magnetic tunnel junctions used for information storage. IBM supplies the devices while researchers conduct measurements.

In 2010, this Center formed a new collaboration with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies in California to study nanoscale devices that show promise for the magnetic recording industry. The company provides a wide range of products and services that store, preserve, and manage data to include advanced hard disk drives, enterprise-class solid state drives, and innovative external storage solutions and services.

The Center has also built a prototype optical spectrometer employing a nano-manufactured diffraction grating built from individual 10 NM ferrite nanoparticles into an array nearly a centimeter across. This success has attracted the attention of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Lab. In 2011, the Center’s five-year $5.4 million Army Research Office Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative grant was funded as a $464,000 nano-manufacturing proposal to the National Science Foundation.

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