Michael Fuhrer: A new chapter in atomic research
On the wings of a Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC), Professor Michael Fuhrer arrived from the University of Maryland eager to take his work to a new level. Known for his research on atomically thin materials such as graphene, Michael was keen to explore its use in electronic devices.
Based in the New Horizons building at Monash, Michael is part of an innovative cluster where leading minds from diverse industries come together and collaborate. “It’s a fantastic environment for research,” he says. “There are physicists, materials engineers and chemical engineers all in the same building.”
Revolution is already happening in Michael’s lab, with the establishment of a world-first capability to perform scanning tunnelling microscopy on working nano-electronic devices. “It’s microscopy that has atomic resolution on atomically thin materials,” he says. “We run currents through the materials and look at them with atomic resolution.”
Michael’s larger plan has always been to expand his research. “I wanted to attract really good people, and grow the effort and area I’m working in.” He currently has three post-doctoral researchers on his team – all with ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) Fellowships to their names.
ARC Centre of Excellence
With his recent ARC funding win for developing the Centre of Excellence (COE) in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies, Michael leads an international hub that investigates the science of atomically thin materials and how it can be used to develop new computing devices. For example, they are currently working on an alternative switch that will replace silicon transistors in current computer chips.
“It’s an opportunity I saw before I came here,” he says. “To come in, build something and turn it into something bigger. I brought a vision to Monash about what I wanted to do – and they supported it.”