Continued advancements in solid state physics together with progress in material growth and process technology have resulted in the emergence of solid state nanoscience which has led the laboratory to its present activities. It is now possible to completely modify the size, the dimensionality and finally the physical properties of materials such as semiconductor or superconductors.
Superconductors have now developed into thin films; semiconductors are now 2D high-conductivity gases or 0D quantum dots; conducting wires are now 1D carbon nanotubes. This nanostructuration of materials completely modifies the transport and optical properties. It increases the coherence times and lengths and permits the investigation of quantum information in solid state physics. It also gives rise to new types of optical or electronic devices .
This new ability for physicists to investigate nano-objects can also be applied to biology. Force or electronic measurements are now possible on a single biological molecule such as DNA. Here also, an understanding of a well-defined process (i.e. a replication process or a hybridation process) on a single molecule is made possible.
Experimental research at LPA is divided into three experimental research fields:
Optical and far-infrared (or TeraHertz) properties of nanostructures
Transport and mesoscopic systems
A Theoretical group, which works for a great part in collaboration with the experimentalists, completes the structure.