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Photons and (artificial) atoms: an overview of optical spectroscopy techniques on quantum dots

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In most branches within experimental physics technical prowess lies at the heart of many seminal works. From the observation of the photoelectric effect and the ultraviolet catastrophe that led to the development of quantum mechanics to the first transistor that shaped the modern age of electronics, significant physical insight has been achieved on the shoulders of technical advances and progress. Research on self-assembled quantum dots may be a drop in the sea of physics, but it still is no exception to this trend, and more physical insight continues to be revealed as the tools of the trade get increasingly more complex and advanced. This article is written primarily for senior undergraduate students and first year graduate students of experimental physics involving optically active quantum dots. More often than not, we have seen students shuffling through journal articles trying to relate the reported physics to the used experimental techniques. What we want to cover here is not in any way the history or the recent progress in quantum dot research - there are an ample number of topical books and review articles for that - but rather to highlight a selection of optics-based measurement techniques that have led to significant progress in our understanding of quantum dot physics as well as their applications in the last two decades. We hope a basic survey of the relevant optical spectroscopy techniques will help the newcomers in connecting the dots between measurements and physics.

Keywords: excitons; quantum dots; quantum information science; quantum optics; spectroscopy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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