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WP8 - JRA Nano object measurements and local spectroscopy

An important trend in modern science is the investigation of smaller and smaller structures with properties determined by a nano-sized group of atoms or molecules. Examples are semiconductor quantum dots, organic nanostructures and carbon-based systems like nanotubes and graphene. To unravel their electrical, optical and magnetic properties it is crucial to measure the response of individual nanostructures, in particular for those cases where experiments on an ensemble of objects conceal important properties or processes. In ensemble measurements only the average value of an observable parameter is detected, and limited information is obtained about the contribution of individual objects to the overall process. For instance, temporal information about dynamical processes might get lost by ensemble averaging, as well as spectroscopic information when the averaging occurs over objects that are not precisely identical.

This JRA aims to develop and implement advanced experimental techniques that allow to do measurements on individual nanostructures in very high magnetic fields. The development of new equipment to perform such experiments in high magnetic fields, where the magnetic length approaches the typical size of the nanostructures, will be an extremely powerful tool to gain insight in the properties of novel nano-scale materials.

Within this JRA two different experimental approaches will be undertaken, focusing on the electrical transport or the optical properties of individual nano-objects, using a wide variety of complementary techniques. The main target of the JRA is the implementation of experimental single nano-object instrumentation in high magnetic fields, which are not as yet available. These developments have become possible due to recent advances in scanning probe techniques and local-spectroscopy methods combined with the present high performance level of the high magnetic field facilities. Prototypes of the new nanoprobe set-ups will be designed and built and the actual high-field implementation will be demonstrated by pilot experiments. Upon completion the new equipment will become available for all interested user groups.