Professor of Physics, University of New South Wales
Director Atomic Fabrication Facility
Program Manager Atomic Fabrication and Crystal Growth
Professor Simmons is a Federation Fellow and Director of the Atomic Fabrication Facility at the UNSW. In the 1990s, she spent 6 years as a Research Fellow working with Professor Sir Michael Pepper FRS at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, UK, in quantum electronics. Her research in nanoelectronics combines molecular beam epitaxy and scanning tunnelling microscopy to develop novel electronic devices at the atomic scale. She has published more than 260 papers in refereed journals (with over 3200 citations), published a book on Nanotechnology, four book chapters on quantum electronics, has filed four patents and has presented over 50 invited and plenary presentations at international conferences. In 2005 she was awarded the Pawsey Medal by the Australian Academy of Science and in 2006 became the one of the youngest elected Fellows of this Academy.
Core Research Areas
The Solid State Quantum Computer
Professor Simmons heads a large group in atomic electronics in Sydney, whose ultimate aim is to fabricate the phosphorus in silicon qubit architecture one atomic layer at a time. Working with unique combined scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) systems, her team have achieved several major milestones in the development of STM-patterned devices, putting them at the forefront of this field. Current research focuses on coherent charge transfer between single and coupled quantum dots for with the goal of realizing prototype architectures for a solid state quantum computer in silicon.
Atomic-scale Devices in Silicon
In addition to the fabrication of quantum computer prototype devices, a new program has been established to exploit the technology developed to build conventional transistors in silicon at the atomic level. This program is developing atomic-scale devices in silicon with applications appropriate to and beyond quantum computation, including atomic-scale transistors, quantum wires and quantum circuits. Fundamental concepts of dopant ordering, device reproducibility and the key role that surface interface chemistry has on device operation are being addressed in close consultation with leading semiconductor corporations. The ultimate goal of this program is to couple atomic-scale lithography in silicon with molecular electronics.
Quantum Electronic Devices
Professor Simmons also has parallel research interests in the experimental investigation of quantum effects in extremely high quality GaAs based semiconductor devices. As electronic devices have become smaller and purer, interaction effects between the individual charge carriers become significant and dominate the physics of these systems. Her research here concentrates on understanding the fundamental nature of electrical conduction in high quality two-dimensional (2D) and one-dimensional (1D) GaAs-based electron and hole transistors. This work led to the classification of a new effect now known as the “0.7 structure” which remains the subject of intense investigation to understand the fundamental physics of one-dimensional systems.
Centre for Quantum Computer Technology
School of Physics
The University of New South Wales