Materials Science and Engineering Professor Beth Nowadnick has earned a National Science Foundation (NSF) award to study materials that may provide new ways to store or process information.
Nowadnick has been collaborating for the past two years with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) scientist Sinead Griffin on the project that led to the grant, which totals $379,374.
According to the NSF, the award supports research into materials that may provide new ways to store or process information in computers. Nowadnick's team is working on controlling what is called "spin," which is a property of electrons that provides one of the smallest platforms for storing and processing information.
The NSF award said the project will "explore ferroelectric oxide materials containing dilute concentrations of magnetic dopant atoms as a system for realizing single spin control."
The goal of the project is to understand how to manipulate the direction of magnetic spins inserted into a series of ferroelectric oxide materials by utilizing a combination of quantum mechanical computer simulations and theoretical symmetry analysis.
The work also will involve efforts to increase the diversity of students and researchers taking part in the materials science and engineering discipline.
That goal will be achieved through research collaborations between UC Merced, which serves a large number of students who are underrepresented minorities and/or first-generation college students, and LBNL.
The project will provide exciting opportunities for participating UC Merced students, Nowadnick said.
"The main educational/diversity component is developing opportunities for UC Merced students to connect with and do internships at LBNL - a leading national lab," she said.