UNSW physicist Frank Ruess has been awarded the 2007 UNSW Science Prize.Awarded by the U Committee, the prize recognises the best science PhD thesis passed each year.

Dr Ruess is pioneering a new way to make atomic-scale electronic devices using the atomic resolution capability of the scanning tunnelling microscope. Based at UNSW's Centre for Quantum Computer Technology, he is working with colleagues in the Atomic Fabrication Facility under the supervision of Federation Fellow, Michelle Simmons.

He was recently awarded the 2007 Bragg Gold Medal by the Australian Institute of Physics. Accepting his award and a cheque for $10,000 this week, Dr Ruess said: "I feel honoured and happy about receiving the UNSW Science Prize. It goes to show that my PhD initiated something special going on here at the Atomic Fabrication Facility".

The success of Dr Ruess' PhD work has been highlighted by his subsequent demonstrations of very narrow conducting wires in silicon and the smallest silicon quantum dots.

The work means UNSW researchers are now making the smallest transistors and interconnects internationally. The technology allows a fundamental understanding of the crossover between classical and quantum electronics. It paves the way for unprecedented miniaturisation of electronic devices and the goal of creating silicon-based quantum computers.

The U Committee is a group of friends of the University that raise funds to support a wide range of programs that otherwise might not be funded. Since its establishment in 1963, the U Committee has raised more than $2 million.