ERC Advanced Grant for Sander Otte
The European Research Council has awarded an ERC Advanced Grant to Sander Otte, professor of Atomic Quantum Technology at the faculty of Applied Sciences at TU Delft. The European subsidy enables internationally established research leaders to carry out a five-year research project. With his research proposal HYPSTER (Hyperfine-coupled Spins with Time Evolution Readout), Otte will investigate the exchange of information between the electrons and the nucleus within a single atom.
Depending on the number of neutrons, some atomic nuclei are slightly magnetic. This magnetism results in an extremely weak interaction with the electrons orbiting the nucleus, which are also magnetic. New research methodology, recently developed in Otte’s group, makes it possible to detect the combined motion of magnetic particles, which takes place over the course of nanoseconds. His team will now further refine this technique so that it can also detect the magnetic motion of the nucleus.
The method makes use of a tunneling microscope, which consists of a sharp needle that scans the atoms one-by-one. This needle can also be used to pick up and reposition the atoms. Eventually, Otte aims to build networks of atoms this way, in which magnetic nuclei can communicate over longer distance. This research provides unique insight into the complex behavior of matter at the atomic scale and contributes to the development of future functional quantum materials.