Physics and Astronomy Professor François Amet awarded two major grants for research and education in nanoscience

BOONE - Professor François Amet was extremely busy last semester. Aside from teaching, the new professor was awarded two prestigious grants from the Army Research Office (ARO) and the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) to fund research and education in the Physics and Astronomy department at Appalachian State University.

The Army Research Office (ARO) grant to Appalachian State University was conjointly awarded to Duke University, through collaboration between Dr. Amet and his Duke colleague, Dr. Gleb Finkelstein. The $238,077 grant awarded to Appalachian will be portioned over the next three years, and will provide funding for 3600 hours of student research.

Additionally, the grant funds will also enable Dr. Amet's laboratory in the Department of Physics and Astronomy to acquire materials, supplies and nanofabrication equipment. According to Dr. Amet, "The goal of the ARO grant is to fund research on superconducting graphene devices. In a superconductor, electrons can flow with no resistance, meaning without dissipating energy. Usually, graphene is not superconducting, but our devices are so small that the graphene becomes superconducting due to its proximity to the superconducting electrodes. As the result of this interaction, we can see electrons behaving in ways never previously observed!"

The second grant awarded to Appalachian State University through Dr. Amet's efforts was given by the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). This grant will fund an ultra-high vacuum sputtering system, new piece of equipment for the Physics and Astronomy department.

This instrument can deposit thin films of materials on a device with exquisite precision—a process that is at the heart of semiconductor research. Dr. Amet's lab will use the instrument to deposit superconducting films during the fabrication of the aforementioned graphene devices.

Dr. Amet believes these two grants will make a difference for both undergraduate and graduate students in the Physics and Astronomy department. "Students will get research projects funded by the grant," says Dr. Amet, "meaning they will have more opportunities for the kind of hands-on training that has direct applications in both research and industry."

Dr. Amet published an article in Science earlier this year entitled "Supercurrent in the Quantum Hall Regime," on his initial research in this field.

Published: Jun 27, 2016 11:44am