Welcome to the Alemán Láb

Welcome to the Alemán Lab.  We are an experimental physics group working loosely within the boundaries of condensed matter; our interests range from micrometer and nanometer-scale optical, mechanical, and electronic systems to spin in the solid-state (spintronics) and materials science.  It is our mission to use physics as a platform to unravel the mysteries of the universe and to develop new methods, knowledge, or technologies that find useful and beneficial applications in our world.

Pictured above is a graphene triangular cantilever (false-colored in blue) viewed in a scanning electron microscope. This “diving board” can freely vibrate, and we “see” these vibrations in the lab using lasers.  The diving board is a single atom in thickness and the two supporting legs are 200 nanometers wide, or about 1000 times smaller than the thickness of a sheet of paper. We make the structure by cutting it from a circular (outer boundary) graphene drumhead. The cutting is achieved with a focused beam of ions (gallium ions), which act like an atomically sharp X-Acto knife. The Alemán group is the first in the world to be able to shape suspended two-dimensional materials, like graphene, with arbitrary control.  By shaping the graphene structure, we can control the frequency or “tone” of its vibrations, much like shaping a guitar body can change the tone of the guitar.  By controlling and adjusting the tone, we can make the graphene vibrating structure more sensitive to its environment.  For example, we can make these structures more sensitive to bits of mass landing on their surface.  How sensitive?  The triangular cantilever shown above can detect the mass of 30 gold atoms!

News:  The renovation of our new lab is under way!  Here are some pictures of the current space before during demolition and construction.

Recent Publications:

  • Andrew Blaikie just submitted his paper on the graphene nanomechanical bolometer. Using the bolometer, we are able to detect really dim light very quickly. Our bolometer is the fastest, most sensitive room-temperature bolometer in the world. The paper is currently in review at the journal Nature Nanotechnology!
  • Our group collaborates with the Ramesh Jasti’s Group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon. Check our our latest results (Nano Letters, arXiv) where we build crystals from nanohoops (think a crystal made from Cheerios!) The crystals are fluorescent and flexible. The work was published in Nano Letters.
  • Professor Alemán’s latest paper on Engineered Nanoscale Diamonds has appeared in Nano Letters