Professor Awschalom is one of the world’s leading research scientists in spintronics and quantum information engineering. His research in spintronics involves understanding and controlling the spin of electrons for advanced computing, medical imaging, encryption, and other technologies.
His group has research activities in optical and magnetic interactions in semiconductor quantum structures, spin dynamics and coherence in condensed matter systems, macroscopic quantum phenomena in nanometer-scale magnets, and implementations of quantum information processing in the solid state. He has developed a variety of femtosecond-resolved spatiotemporal spectroscopies and micromagnetic sensing techniques aimed at exploring charge and spin motion in the quantum domain. In 2004, his group made the first experimental observation of the spin Hall effect in semiconductors.
Professor Awschalom received his BSc in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his PhD in experimental physics from Cornell University. He was a Research Staff member and Manager of the Nonequilibrium Physics Department at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. In 1991 he joined the University of California-Santa Barbara as a Professor of Physics, and in 2001 was additionally appointed as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to joining the Institute for Molecular Engineering, he served as the Peter J. Clarke Professor and Director of the California NanoSystems Institute, and Director of the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation.
Prof. Awschalom received an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award (1987), the Outstanding Investigator Prize from the Materials Research Society (1992), the International Magnetism Prize and Néel Medal from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2003), the Oliver E. Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society (2005), the Agilent Europhysics Prize from the European Physical Society (2005), the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006), and the UC Faculty Research Lecturer Award (2008), and the David Turnbull Award from the Materials Research Society (2010). Professor Awschalom is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the European Academy of Sciences.