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David Awschalom


Contact Information

Phone: (805) 893-2121


Department of Physics
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9530

Group Research Overview

Spin Dynamics and Quantum Information Processing in the Solid State

Our group is primarily concerned with exploring magnetic and electron spin dynamics within a variety of semiconductor-based nanoscale systems. Our experimental program combines femtosecond optical spectroscopy with low temperature magneto-optical and transport techniques in order to perform energy-dependent dynamical measurements with high spatial and temporal resolution. Such experiments are ideal for studying coherent quantum processes in a variety of nanostructures and are aimed at exploring charge and spin motion in the quantum domain. Current research interests focus on:

  1. Spin dynamics and coherence in the solid state. Time-resolved optical experiments are designed to inject and monitor properties of charge and spin coherences in solid state systems. In particular, we investigate the dynamical evolution of electronic, magnetic, and nuclear spins in three-dimensional and quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures, yielding information on spin scattering, quantization, and tunneling as well as demonstrating coherent spin manipulation by both optical and electrical means;
  2. Diluted magnetic semiconductors. Molecular beam epitaxy methods are developed to grow high quality crystals of semiconductors with controlled doping of magnetic ions. Optical experiments utilizing time-resolved and photoluminescence measurements are used to probe the carrier states and magnetic behavior in both III-V and II-VI magnetic semiconductors;
  3. Spin manipulation in molecules. Experiments are conducted to investigate coherent spin phenomena in novel molecular-semiconductor hybrid systems. Molecules offer new systems for transporting and processing quantum information distinct from semiconductors as well as exciting possibilities for interfacing inorganic and organic matter;
  4. Quantum information. Experimental schemes are developed for implementing and probing the fundamental mechanisms underlying quantum information in semiconductor-based nanostructures.


Professor David D. Awschalom received his B.Sc. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in experimental physics from Cornell University. He was a Research Staff member and Manager of the Nonequilibrium Physics Department at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. In 1991 he joined the University of California-Santa Barbara as a Professor of Physics, and in 2001 was additionally appointed as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is presently the Peter J. Clarke Professor and Director of the California NanoSystems Institute, and Director of the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation.

His group has research activities in optical and magnetic interactions in semiconductor quantum structures, spin dynamics and coherence in condensed matter systems, macroscopic quantum phenomena in nanometer-scale magnets, and implementations of quantum information processing in the solid state. He has developed a variety of femtosecond-resolved spatiotemporal spectroscopies and micromagnetic sensing techniques aimed at exploring charge and spin motion in the quantum domain. Professor Awschalom received an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award (1987), the Outstanding Investigator Prize from the Materials Research Society (1992), the International Magnetism Prize and NĂ©el Medal from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2003), the Oliver E. Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society (2005), the Agilent Europhysics Prize from the European Physical Society (2005), the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006), and the UC Faculty Research Lecturer Award (2008), and the David Turnbull Award from the Materials Research Society (2010). Dr. Awschalom is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the European Academy of Sciences.