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Professor Amalia Patane

Professor of Physics and Director of Research, Faculty of Science



Since my PhD (1998) at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", appointments at the University of Nottingham and fellowships in the UK (EPSRC (2004-09) and Leverhulme Trust (2017-19)) and abroad (Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018-19)), my research has focussed on the science and technologies of quantum systems.

Early career My quantum transport studies of nanomaterials at high-magnetic fields (Science 2000) have probed directly charge carriers in quantum confined structures. Imaging the wave function probability density of electrons yields detailed information on the properties of matter and continue to be pursued by innovative experimental techniques. The magneto-tunnelling spectroscopy technique that I developed has enabled new understanding and opened exciting directions towards imaging and manipulating charge carriers for sensing and quantum information.

While imaging single electrons is now well advanced, research on the collective behaviour of electrons is still its infancy. This is of major importance across disciplines as it underpins fascinating new phenomena, such as charge-ordering, quantum chaos, superconductivity, etc. My research on the quantum properties of electrons in disordered systems (Phys.Rev.Lett. 2003 & 2006, Nature Comm. 2012) and in the periodic potential of artificial superlattices (Nature 2004, Phys.Rev.Lett. 2004 & 2012) has shed new light on how a conductor responds to external electric and magnetic fields.

Recent developments In the last 10 years, I have worked on new quantum systems across disciplines (Physics, Chemistry and Engineering) and promoted magnetic field research in Nottingham and in the facilities of the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL, I have initiated and led the process and funding by which the EMFL is now available as an EPSRC National Research Facility (NRF) to UK-based scientists working across disciplines in several fields (magnetism, correlated systems, topological insulators, fluid dynamics, drugs, etc.). Also, I have championed research on novel 2-dimensional (2D) semiconductors. My present research on the quantum properties of 2D semiconducting metal chalcogenides has stimulated a surge of interest worldwide with discoveries ranging from new polymorphs (Adv. Func. Materials 2020) to tuneable band structures (Adv. Materials 2013, Nature Nano. 2017 and Nature Mat. 2020) and giant quantum Hall effects (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2017).

The science of 2D systems is now a rapidly developing and vibrant field with breakthroughs emerging from experimental and theoretical research. In 2019, I initiated an EPSRC proposal for the development of EPI2SEM, a bespoke facility for the EPItaxial growth and in-situ analysis of 2-dimensional SEMiconductors, EPI2SEM combines the epitaxial growth of 2D semiconductors with in situ chemical analysis and imaging/spectroscopy of the grown materials by scanning probe microscopy and electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis. This will provide a critical step change in this field.

Research recognitions, prizes and research awards

  • Sir Charles Vernon Boys Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics (IoP 2007)
  • EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship (2004-2009)
  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2017-2019)
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) President's International Fellowship (2018)
  • Honorary professorship at the Institute of Semiconductors, CAS, Beijing (2019 - to date)

I have worked with leading international groups on collaborative projects (e.g. EU Graphene Flagship, RS International projects with Japan , Russia, and the EU, etc.) and training networks (e.g. Initial Training Networks funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Centres for Doctoral Trainings). I continue to promote cooperation in education, science and technology as a member of national and international committees, including the Commission 8 (C8: Semiconductors) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) as a Member (2015-18) and Vice Chair (2018-21). As a member of the EMFL Council and NRF Director, I contribute to the strategic development of high magnetic fields and their access by a large and diverse community.

Current research awards

Teaching Summary

Quantum Transport, Year 4

Advanced Research Projects, Year 4

Physics Projects, Year 3

Research Summary

Advances in the design and realization of quantum systems and in the understanding of their complex behaviour (quantum tunnelling, superposition, entanglement, etc.) have led to important discoveries… read more

Current Research

Advances in the design and realization of quantum systems and in the understanding of their complex behaviour (quantum tunnelling, superposition, entanglement, etc.) have led to important discoveries in science and have set the stage for more wonders in the years to come. Quantum physics still has great potential, but future progress and innovative solutions to grand challenges require a shift towards transformative material systems, novel approaches to "see" and "manipulate" the nanoscale world as never before, and the development of advanced integration technologies for the exploitation of quantum systems in real applications.

My current research builds upon contributions that I have made to the fields of materials science and quantum physics. It explores innovative ways to design and create artificial materials, and harness charge-quanta and their interaction with external fields, laying the ground for discoveries of fundamental and applied interest and offering opportunities to fully unveil and harness the power of quantum physics for the benefit of society.

Links to publications and research activities:

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