Fullerene DPhil projects available:

For further information email: kyriakos.porfyrakis@materials.ox.ac.uk

1. Nanomaterials for quantum information processing

Supervisors: GAD Briggs / A Ardavan (Department of Physics) / JJL Morton / K Porfyrakis / JH Warner

Quantum information processing offers one of the most exciting challenges in the study and development of nanomaterials. It is at the cutting edge of quantum nanoelectronics, and we are part of the world wide race to develop a scalable quantum computer. We need materials with quantum states that can be individually controlled and measured, and yet which are sufficiently robust against decoherence that they can sustain a sequence of quantum manipulations and interactions. We lead the world in using the new family of fullerene materials (popularly known as Bucky balls), which can be used to contain atomic and molecular species inside a cage that separates them from the quantum environment. We can insert fullerenes into carbon nanotubes to create one-dimensional 'peapod' arrays, which we can image by HRTEM, and we are also developing other schemes for molecular self-assembly of fullerenes and other functional molecules. We can also use other materials such as doped silicon and diamond. We can store the quantum information in electron or nuclear spin, and exchange it between the two. We can manipulate and characterize the spin states by electron paramagnetic resonance and also optically. By creating entanglement between several spins, it will be possible to develop sensors that exceed the standard quantum limit. By storing information holographically in collective spin states, it will be possible to process quantum information in large ensembles of spins. There will be several projects with these nanomaterials, ranging from synthesis and characterization to experimental implementation of candidate schemes for quantum computing. The research is highly interdisciplinary, and there is scope for a range of skills and interests from materials science and chemistry to experimental quantum physics (qsd.materials.ox.ac.uk). In association with the experimental programme which will take place within a large and active research group (www.qipirc.org), there will be theory and modelling projects with Dr S C Benjamin, Dr J Fitzsimons, Dr B W Lovett and Professor J H Jefferson (www.qunat.org). There may be possibilities for industrial support and for international travel and collaboration.

2. Endohedral metallofullerenes for nanotechnological applications.

K Porfyrakis / G A D Briggs

Fullerenes are fascinating carbon-based materials. Their most interesting feature is that due to their cage-like structure they can trap atom(s) inside their empty "shell". This project explores the synthesis and chemical functionalization of endohedral metallofullerenes: Mn@Cm (where n=1-3 and m ≥ 60). We shall synthesise novel endohedral metallofullerenes using a new arc-discharge facility. We shall customise the fullerene molecular structure in order to tune their properties, such as their HOMO-LUMO gap. We shall develop methods for the covalent functionalization of endohedral metallofullerenes. We shall investigate the effect of rigid or flexible functional groups on the electronic properties of the endohedral species. We shall focus on malonate and pyrrolidine adducts initially, but other schemes will also be considered. Endohedral metallofullerenes and their derivatives will be purified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and will be characterized by various spectroscopic techniques available to us, including mass spectrometry, UV-Vis-NIR and FTIR spectroscopies and other analytical tools. These nanomaterials are of interest for quantum information processing, but are also attractive for opto-electronics and photovoltaic applications.