Not long ago the idea of being able to build matter from the ground up would have seemed pure science fiction. Today, scientists have already created artificial atoms and are using them in nano-electronics and nano-physics. Dr. Sergei Vitkalov is working with these atoms, testing their properties. “Artificial atoms have controllable properties,” says Dr. Vitkalov, whose research interests are experimental condensed matter physics and microwave and low temperature physics. “My work is part of the effort to find out how we can implement these properties in real devices. I am studying how they perform and trying to establish the limitations of using them for our means.”
In his CAREER research, Dr.Vitkalov is applying highly sensitive microwave techniques to answer questions regarding quantum dynamics of strongly correlated, low dimensional electron systems and nano-structures. “This is one of the most important questions in condensed matter physics,” he says. “These nano-systems are key elements of future electronic devices employing quantum properties of matter.” Dr. Vitkalov’s research will provide valuable information regarding the response of nano-systems to a rapidly varying electromagnetic field, a feature that is important for many applications.
“I came to City College,” says Dr. Vitkalov, “because it is a place where I can do this type of research.” He was drawn by the opportunity to work with CUNY Distinguished Professor Myriam Sarachik, the 2003 President of the American Physical Society. Dr. Vitkalov holds a doctorate in solid state physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Before coming to CCNY, he was a senior scientist at the P. N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Russian Academy of Science and a research scientist in chemistry at the University of Florida. He spent three years as a research professor at the Research Foundation of CUNY prior to becoming a member of the Department of Physics.The educational component of Dr. Vitkalov’s CAREER project will establish international and domestic collaborations which make it possible for City College students to get valuable knowledge and marketable experience in advanced areas of quantum physics and micro- and nano-electronics. “I have great respect for our students,” says Dr. Vitkalov. “I strongly believe that everybody should have access to top quality education, and that family income should not be a barrier. It gives me great satisfaction to teach in an institution which serves students who might not have the opportunity to get that education elsewhere.”
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