The longstanding progress of conventional semiconductor technology is expected to come to a halt in the next ten to twenty years. As the size of transistors approach the nanometer scale, severe problems related to miniaturization and energy dissipation will hinder further improvement of conventional devices.
This anticipation is motivating the development of alternative devices that take advantage of the quantum nature at the atomic scale. A notable example is the quantum computer, where each bit is formed by a physical system displaying quantum behavior - possibly a single atom or a group of a few atoms. In this case the rules of quantum mechanics dictate the way information is processed.
Another interesting alternative is spintronics, where the spin of the electrons instead of their charge forms the basis for classical memory and logic, promising much lower rates of energy dissipation per device.
Our research addresses several theoretical questions related to the design and optimization of quantum computer and spintronic devices based on semiconductor, superconductor, magnetic, and ferroelectric materials.