University of Nottingham


IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory (ZRL), with approximately 200 employees, is the European branch of the IBM Research Division with headquarters at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, USA. Throughout the history of the Zürich Laboratory, scientists have made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge in solid-state physics, stimulated by problems relevant to technology. Tunneling, force and near-field optical microscopes as well as electron-beam techniques, all invented or further developed at Zurich, have been used to study surfaces, thin films, and molecular objects at the nanometer scale. Also high-temperature superconductivity has been discovered at ZRL. A new nanotechnology center, involving large clean room facilities and noise free laboratories opened in 2011.


“Atom chip structures on membranes”

In this project atom chip structures on thin (<100nm) membranes will be fabricatedIBMusing nanostencil lithography, a direct and resistless nanostructuring method performed in ultra high vacuum environment. Furthermore, focused ion beam (FIB) will be employed to thin membranes or fabricate on-chip mechanical resonators. Atom traps on membranes will be used for magnetic field sensing with cold atoms. Due to thinning of the membrane the van der Waals forces are reduced and thus the sensitivity can be increased. Magnetic test structures on top of membranes will also be fabricated using nanostencil lithography.

A second aspect of the project is the exploration and evaluation of an experimental setup combining cold atoms and low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) using tuning fork sensors. Moreover, further development of a system combining nanostencil lithography and low temperature STM/AFM is foreseen.

QTea coordination:

School of Physics & Astronomy, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK