Research

Our quality-driven science institute covers the most exciting research lines within nanoscience: Quantum computation, Quantum technologies, Molecular electronics, Single-molecule biophysics, and Synthetic and cell biology. It is organized in two departments:

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 13.58.08Bionanoscience

The Department of Bionanoscience focuses on the fundamental understanding of biological processes, from the level of single molecules to the full complexity of living cells. This research provides fascinating insight in the molecular mechanisms that lead to cellular function. Furthermore it enables the in vitro bottom-up construction of cellular machinery and it impacts applications ranging from bio-molecular diagnostics to novel antibiotics and targeted nano-medicine. The department features a strongly multidisciplinary and international team of scientists, whose research areas include single-molecule biophysics, synthetic biology, as well as quantitative cell biology.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.00.35Quantum Nanoscience

Quantum nanoscience is explored in our Kavli Institute by a sizeable number of scientists who are organised in the Department of Quantum Nanoscience and in QuTech.

The Department of Quantum Nanoscience seeks to advance the understanding of physical processes at the nanoscale, with a focus on research for fundamental scientific and technological breakthroughs. The approach is based on quantum engineering, in which innovative nanofabrication, measurement techniques and advanced theoretical models are developed. Research involves a wide variety of materials and device concepts including those that are based on atomically thin layers such as graphene. Next to revealing new physics, the department aims at initiating novel applications of quantum effects, for instance, building quantum computers and ultra-sensitive detectors for light. Quantum Nanoscience comprises an interdisciplinary research environment, in which the scientific staff and students explore, learn and teach.

QuTech

QuTech is a mission driven institute that will develop scalable prototypes of a quantum computer and inherently safe quantum internet based on superposition and entanglement in nanoscale devices. The institute brings together world-class scientists, engineers and industry in an inspiring environment. QuTech is a partnership between TU Delft and TNO, and has engaged in long-term, close collaborations with Intel and Microsoft.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.00.44Future research ambitions

The Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft is thriving with forward-looking scientists that shape new research directions in nanoscience. There are a number of big emerging scientific challenges that we are starting to address:

  • Quantum information processing through quantum circuits realized in superconducting, semiconducting, diamond and graphene devices;
  • (Opto-)electronic nanodevices, using molecular electronics and plasmonics;
  • Building a synthetic cell to explore the fundamentals of life;
  • Addressing the biomolecular basis of diseases, from bacterial infections to cancer.

All these fundamental scientific breakthroughs have the potential to lead to game-changing solutions for society. We foresee at least three major directions for future research:

  • Kavli for Health
  • Breakthroughs in the understanding of cells as well as the biomolecular basis of diseases are essential to improve healthcare in cancer, infectious diseases, regenerative medicine, and personalised medicine. In cooperation with medical centres and pharmaceutical companies, scientists at the institute aim to develop radical new approaches to diagnostics and medication such as DNA and protein sequencing, novel antibiotics, HIV medication, and drug delivery. Personalised medicine and drug delivery will lead to more effective treatment and significantly reduce side effects. Improved diagnostics through for instance sequencing will enable early treatment and/or behavioural change, which will save lives and improve quality of life.
  • Kavli for Information Security
  • Breakthroughs in quantum technology are key for the development of an intrinsically secure quantum internet. A quantum internet would provide a fundamentally secure way of communicating in which security and privacy is guaranteed by the laws of physics. A network of connected computers equipped with quantum technology could enable quantum communication over arbitrarily large distances, potentially spanning the globe. Creating a true secure internet would be a crucial step forward in this era of globalisation.
  • Kavli for Computing
  • A quantum computer can crack important problems that are totally beyond the reach of conventional computers. Quantum computers are particularly well suited to compute how molecules and materials behave, since the behaviour of molecules and materials is itself ruled by quantum mechanics. Such quantum simulations may have enormous impact on society. For instance, they may help design molecules or chemical reactions with tailored properties, possible leading to completely new drugs (see Kavli for Health) or more efficient chemical plants. As Bill Gates claimed on Twitter ‘This mind-bending Microsoft quantum computer could help tackle problems we haven’t even imagined’.