Lancaster is working with the University of Oxford on a £5.2m project which aims to design and develop the world’s most efficient thermoelectric material.
QuEEN (Quantum Effects in Electronic Nanodevices) funded by the EPSRC involves teams from the Physics Department at Lancaster and the Departments of Materials and Chemistry at Oxford.
The research combines chemical synthesis, nanofabrication, measurement, and theory, and strongly relies on the interactions between these different areas of expertise.
The core aim of the QuEEN Programme Grant is to investigate quantum effects in molecules in devices, with a view to discovering fundamental science and harnessing the properties for practical technologies.
The combined electricity consumption of IT systems (communication networks, personal computers, data centres, etc.) was 900 TWh in 2012, or 4.6% of global electricity use, and this figure is set to double by 2025. At present, much of this energy input is lost as waste heat.
The QuEEN project aims to address this global challenge by harnessing quantum interference in molecules and scaling these up.
Professor Colin Lambert, Founding Director of the Lancaster Quantum Technology Centre said: “Within the QuEEN programme we will develop the scientific understanding and technological know-how needed to exploit quantum effects for reduced-energy computing, molecular recognition, universal memory and thermoelectric recovery of energy.”
“Our efforts will concentrate on the underpinning science of stable and reproducible devices, consisting of single molecules connected to graphene electrodes, with the potential for scalable production.”