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Sun Lab

Molecular Quantum Devices and Quantum Information

The Sun Lab is interested in applying molecular materials and devices to explore fundamental quantum phenomena and to develop quantum information processing strategies. Specifically, we focus on molecular electron spin qubits that are paramagnetic molecules with electron spin coherence and metal‒organic frameworks that are crystalline microporous coordination complexes. Due to their designability, tunability, as well as unique structures and functionalities, these materials have the potential to provide chemical solutions to challenging physical problems and to spark transformative applications in electronics, spintronics, and quantum information science.

Single-molecule quantum devices

The single-molecule device serves as a platform to explore quantum phenomena such as Kondo effect and quantum interference. We are interested in using molecular electron spin qubits to fabricate single-molecule spintronic and quantum information processing devices. We will examine the influence of molecular structures and properties on spin transport and will devise strategies to achieve molecular spin polarization and spin-state readout. Based on these studies, we will fabricate on-chip electron paramagnetic resonance devices to realize single-molecular-qubit addressing and will integrate switchable communication channels among such devices to develop prototype multi-molecular-qubit quantum computers. In addition, we will investigate the interplay between chirality and spin transport. Taking advantage of single-molecule devices, we will study the spin polarization effect of chiral molecules as well as enantioselective reactions tuned by spin-polarized current.

Molecular quantum sensors

Quantum sensors measure physical quantities such as magnetic field and temperature with ultrahigh sensitivity, precision, and spatial resolution. Nonetheless, quantum sensing of chemicals in ambient conditions remains an open challenge because most qubits suffer from cryogenic operation temperature or weak interaction with chemical analytes. To this end, molecular electron spin qubits are advantageous because they can maintain spin coherence at room temperature and can be rationally designed to interact with chemical analytes strongly and selectively. We will incorporate molecular electron spin qubits into single-molecule devices or metal‒organic frameworks, use pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy to develop quantum sensing protocols applicable for chemical analytes, and apply these molecular quantum sensors to investigate energy storage devices and biological systems.

2D MOFs and van der Waals heterostructures

Two-dimensional (2D) materials and their van der Waals heterostructures exhibit exotic yet important quantum phenomena including unconventional quantum Hall effect and commensurate modulation of charge transport. With chemical versatility and crystalline microporous structures, 2D metal‒organic frameworks (MOFs) could bring new insight into these quantum phenomena and potentially reveal new ones. We will isolate monolayer 2D MOFs, fabricate micro/nano devices to characterize their electrical, magnetic, optical, and thermal properties, use them to produce van der Waals heterostructures with conventional 2D materials (graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides, etc.), and probe quantum phenomena including quantum spin Hall effect, quantum anomalous Hall effect, anisotropic electron transport, etc.

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