Quantum light generation and imaging using quantum dots

Young, Robert (2007) Quantum light generation and imaging using quantum dots. In: Quantum Phenomena in Confined Dimensions, 2007-06-04, Italu.

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Semiconductor Quantum dots are potentially an attractive source of non-classical light. They can confine bound electron-hole pairs, excitons, in all three spatial dimensions giving them discrete optical emission energies, much like the electronic states in atomic systems. The semiconductor nature of the system allows quantum dots to be integrated into complicated device structures including optical cavities [1] and electrical injection [2]. The radiative exciton emission from a semiconductor quantum dot can provide the simplest form of quantum light, a single photon source [2]. The finite re-excitation time following the radiative decay of an exciton in a quantum dot prevents the dot from emitting more than one photon if excited with a short optical or electronic pulse. In a similar fashion excitation of the biexciton state, consisting of two electrons and holes, in the quantum dot results in the emission of a pair of photons at the energy of the biexciton and exciton transitions. The biexciton state was, in fact, proposed as a possible source of polarisation-entangled photons in 2000 by Benson et al. [3] as it consists of two polarisation-correlated decay paths which could potentially be indistinguishable. The condition of indistinguishability is fundamental to the generation of entangled photons and is, in general, not true of the two decay paths from the biexciton state in a quantum dot; physical anisotropy causes the intermediate exciton states to hybridise and separate in energy providing ‘which-path’ information about the route taken through the biexciton decay. We demonstrate how the splitting between the intermediate exciton states in a single InAs quantum dot can be controlled by growth [4], rapid thermal annealing [5] and the application of an external magnetic field [6]. Each of these three techniques can be used to make the intermediate exciton states degenerate allowing the biexciton decay to produce singe pairs of entangled photons triggered by short laser pulses [7,8]. Entangled photon pair sources are essential for applications such as entanglement based quantum key distribution, and optical quantum computing. For these applications it is important that no more than one entangled photon pair is generated in a cycle, a requirement met by our quantum dot source which is not possible with traditional methods for generating entangled pairs of photons. Entanglement also enables quantum interferometry and metrology, the basis of image resolution beyond that possible with equivalent classical light. Biphoton interferometry using entangled emission from the biexciton decay reveals fringes with half the period of classical light [9], and less that that of the laser. In addition, interferometry suggests that this type of entangled light source is not limited by decoherence, we fine the biphoton is surprising robust against dephasing, in stark contrast to the devastating effect of decoherence upon single photons emitted by similar structures.

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Quantum Phenomena in Confined Dimensions
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29 Jun 2015 10:20
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22 Nov 2022 14:12