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Coherence, Correlation and Control in Nanostructures


Advanced nanostructured electronic and optical materials incorporating semiconductor quantum dots are being developed in order to enable complete control of their full quantum mechanical properties. Conventional electronic devices typically rely only on charge transport. However, in small semiconductor structures of order nanometers in size (quantum dots), fully quantum mechanical properties such as quantum phase and spin can become important. If such properties can be controlled with external fields, i.e. electric and/or optical fields, it will become possible to implement a new paradigm for information processing known as quantum computing that will be much more powerful than what is possible today.

Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the study of semiconductor nanostructures, particularly quantum dots, including much critical work at NRL within the Nanoscience Institute. A variety of nanostructures have been fabricated, studies have been performed in the limit of single dots, and their energetics understood in considerable detail. These advances open up the prospect of exploiting quantum mechanical effects in semiconductor nanostructures with their unique advantages for scalability and integration. Complex nanostructured electronic materials with enhanced functional properties would enable qualitatively new directions for revolutionary technologies such as quantum information processing. Several recent advances open up the opportunity for significant progress in these key areas, with NRL researchers playing key roles in many of them. Optically active semiconductor quantum dots have been obtained and sharp atomic-like states in individual dots have been observed. Long spin coherence lifetimes have been discovered in semiconductor systems and coherent optical control of the quantum phase has been demonstrated. Correlation of electrons in different quantum dots and between electrons and microcavity photons has been obtained. Control through size and shape of electromagnetic modes in semiconductor nanostructures has been demonstrated. The scientific opportunity for focused research in this newly opened area is great.

  1. "Optical Studies of Single Quantum Dots," Physics Today 55(10), 36 (2002).
  2. "An All-Optical Quantum Gate in a Semiconductor Quantum Dot", Science 301, 809-811 (2003).

Contact the Principal Investigator, Dan Gammon, for more information

 

 
   
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