Pan American Advanced Study Institute Lectures: Nanodevices and Maxwell’s Demon

By Supriyo Datta

Purdue University

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Pan American Advanced Study Institute (PASI) Lectures: Nanodevices and Maxwell's Demon This is a video taped set of two one-hour live lectures covering roughly the same material as Lectures 1-3 of Concepts of Quantum Transport.

An electronic Maxwell’s demon

It is common to differentiate between two ways of building a nanodevice. There is the top-down approach where we start from something big and chisel out what we want, or a bottom-up approach where we start from something small — like atoms or molecules — and assemble what we want. When it comes to describing current flow, the standard approach follows the "top-down" concept and works its way down from large conductors. This lecture, however, will present a unique "bottom-up" view of electrical conduction that is particularly relevant to today’s nanoscale devices. It will illustrate fundamental questions of transport physics such as wave-particle duality, dissipation, and entanglement, all using a nanoscale device that can sort out and regulate the flow of electrons in a manner reminiscent of the "demon" imagined by James C. Maxwell in the nineteenth-century to illustrate limitations of the second law of thermo-dynamics.


Dr. Supriyo Datta, received his bachelor of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India, in 1975, then earned his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979. In 1981, he joined Purdue University, where he is currently the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 1984, he received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award and an IEEE Centennial Key to the Future Award. In 1994, he received the Frederick Emmons Terman Award from the ASEE. Professor Datta shared the SRC Technical Excellence Award in 2001 and the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award in 2002 with his colleague, Mark Lundstrom. Prof. Datta is a Fellow of the IEEE, the American Physical Society (APS), and the Institute of Physics (IOP). He has authored several books, including: Surface Acoustic Wave Devices (Prentice Hall, 1986), Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems (Cambridge, 1995), and Quantum Transport: Atom to Transistor (Cambridge, 2005). His current research interests are centered on the physics of nanostructures and include spin electronics, molecular electronics, nanoscale device physics, and mesoscopic superconductivity.

Sponsored by

PASI2007 - Pan American Advanced Study Institute 2007
National Science Foundation with a Pan American School Institute Award


S.Datta,"Nanodevices and Maxwell's demon", arXiv:cond-mat/07041623, to appear in the Proceedings of the Third ASI International Workshop on Nano Science & Technology, Ed. Z.K.Tang, Taylor & Francis (2007).

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Supriyo Datta (2007), "Pan American Advanced Study Institute Lectures: Nanodevices and Maxwell’s Demon,"

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