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Gordon Research Conference

Condensed Matter Physics

June 22--27, 2003 Connecticut College

Thomas A. Witten, University of Chicago, Chair --- Paul McEuen, Cornell University, Co-chair

photo credit
soft corrals for electrons and atoms

News 6/10: group photo

In recent years the Condensed Matter Physics Gordon conference has served as meeting ground for hard and soft condensed matter science. This year's conference continues this aim with a focus on soft corrals for electrons and atoms. By "soft corrals" we mean deformable materials such as flexible, organic molecules or deformable surface structures that shape electronic states and electron transport at the mesoscopic scale of tens of nanometers or less. A classic form of corral is the surfactant corona that shapes colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, yielding intense, controllable fluorescence. Arrays of colloidal metal particles on a surface lead to anomalous electronic transport and guided plasmon propagation. Amphiphilic polymers spontaneously form controllable periodic patterns on a surface at the ten-nanometer scale. These patterns can shape deposited metal into arrays of dots or wires via differential wetting. Deforming these soft corrals offers a means of controlling electrons and vice versa.

New forms of mesoscopic confinement and new resulting electronic behavior are rapidly emerging. Electrons confined in molecules or carbon nanotubes form a subtle corral that alters the spin distribution in adjacent metals via the Kondo effect. The conference will explore new ways in which deformation or modification of carbon nanotubes and conjugated polymers result in new electronic states. We will survey new forms of excited-electron interaction in semiconductor nanocrystals. We will also look at emerging forms of surface structure resulting from ionic interaction of micelles and molecules.

One aspect of these corrals is their effect on the spin states of electrons. This includes both static magnetic states and dynamic spin-wave states. Soft materials such as diblock copolymers or colloidal crystals can structure and position magnetic nanocrystals to store information at high density. Spin density waves also propagate in new ways within and between nanocrystals on a surface. The time evolution of these excitations can lead to entangled states and thus to new ways to manipulate information.

Manipulation of atoms with scanning tips is enabling a new form of soft corral. The conference will present new forms of collective motion guided by individually placed molecules on a surface and via the surface topography.



  • Materials
    • surfactant micelles
    • surfactant monolayers
    • metal surfaces
    • chemisorbed small molecules
    • organic molecules
    • polymers and copolymers
    • carbon nanotubes
    • nanoclusters and nanorods
  • Corral formation by
    • molecular structure
    • micelles
    • surface reconstruction
    • copolymers
    • ionic complexes
    • single-atom positioning
  • Propagation via...
    • tunneling
    • dipolar excitation
    • delocalized molecular states
    • spin density waves
  • probed by
    • gated currents
    • scanning probe microscopy
    • fast spectrocopy
    • electron microscopy


Harry Atwater, Harvard University
David Awschalom, University of California, Santa Barbara
Paul Barbara, University of Texas, Austin
Sam Bader, Argonne National Laboratory
Paul Chaikin, Princeton University
Dongmin Chen, Roland Institute
Leonid Glazman, University of Minnesota
Andreas Heinrich , IBM San Jose
Heinrich Jaeger, University of Chicago
Charles Kane, University of Pennsylvania
Victor Klimov, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Robert Magerle, Universitaet Bayreuth, Germany
Hongkun Park, Harvard University
Dan Ralph, Cornell University
Jacob Sagiv, Weizmann Institute of Science
Kunio Takayanagi, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Edwin L. Thomas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
T. Mitch Wallis, University of California, Irvine
R. Bruce Weisman, Rice University
Paul S. Weiss , Pennsylvania State University
Ellen D. Williams, University of Maryland
Gerard Wong, University of Illinois, Urbana


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