Joined: 03 Oct 2005
|Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:31 am Post subject: EPSRC Gives £4M to Cambridge for Research on Nanostructures
|Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Awards £4.4 Million to Cambridge University for Research on Nanostructures
The Government’s main science funding agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), has awarded the University of Cambridge a grant of £4.4m for research which promises to revolutionise the speed of information technology and hopes also to discover new laws of physics.
The grant funds research into some of the tiniest controllable structures in the world: nanostructures. The University’s Department of Physics Cavendish Laboratory wants to develop a new generation of tiny semiconductors – the main component of computer chips – which will be able to communicate information at speeds faster than ever before. The new super-fast machines will be called ‘quantum computers’ which would work on entirely different principles from the computers we know today.
Professor Sir Michael Pepper, who is Principal Investigator on the four-year project and head of the Semiconductor Physics Group at the Cavendish, said: “We are not talking about speeding up reactions by a factor of two or three, but by a factor of billions! Currently computing operations happen in sequence. With the new technology they will happen in parallel.”
Other investigators in the team at the Cavendish Laboratory include Professor David Ritchie, Professor Charles Smith, Dr Crispin Barnes, Dr Chris Ford, Dr Geb Jones, and Dr Kalaricad Thomas, who are joined by Professor Michael Kelly in the Department of Engineering.
“The main applications for the new quantum computers will initially be enormous databases and security,” said Professor Pepper. “Beyond that, quantum technology will impact on everyone’s lives, but we are not yet sure how. This work will bring about a fusion of technology with the most fundamental theory of nature - the laws of quantum mechanics. We anticipate finding new types of behaviour in physics when dimensions become extremely small.
“It is hard to say just what the full implications of this work are, in a way that we did not understand the full impact of computers when scientists in Cambridge first worked on them in the 1940s. I hope that the research will contribute to new industries yet to be born.”
Source: Cambridge University.
This story was posted on 12 January 2006.