Harnessing the Quantum Properties of Electrons for Data Storage and Processing
Advances in the technology of materials are fundamental to the advancement of human civilization. We need only look at our classification of historic and prehistoric periods (e.g., the Stone Age and Iron Age) to understand how important discovering and developing new materials can be.
Today, there are no new materials with unprecedented properties that we can simply dig up from the ground. For the most part, we already understand the properties of naturally occurring materials and it is highly unlikely we will stumble upon anything that behaves differently. New materials with new properties must therefore be prepared in synthetic chemistry laboratories. On the long list of materials chemists are attempting to prepare, compounds that exhibit “spintronic” (spin-based electronic) properties are at the top.
The development of new materials that exhibit unprecedented spintronic properties is crucial to advancing data technology. The realization of quantum computing, for example, relies on the development of efficient and inexpensive spintronic materials. Perhaps the most sought after spintronic material is one in which semi-conductivity and ferro- or ferri-magnetism occur in the same temperature regime.
The design of such materials at a molecular level is the ultimate goal of the research pursued by Canada Research Chair in the Chemistry of Molecular Materials, Dr. Kathryn Preuss. Preuss and her team of researchers will focus on the design and synthesis of molecules possessing metallic and organic components. Each component holds unpaired electrons with the potential to interact or communicate with one another, giving rise to the desired magnetic and conductive properties.
Preuss’s research goal is to make a molecular material that will revolutionize data storage, quantum computing and semiconductors by increasing efficiency, reducing size and tapping into properties unknown in currently existing materials.