Short-range scattering in quantum dots

October 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2010) -- Chinese researchers, reporting in the Journal of Applied Physics, published by the American Institute of Physics, have described a new breakthrough in understanding the way electrons travel around quantum dots. This might lead to promising new fabrication methods of novel quantum devices.

Guodong Li and colleagues at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing carried out an experiment using self-assembled quantum dots and a two-dimensional electron gas, and then fit the data to a model to find out the type of scattering exhibited.

Much recent work has examined the internal structure of electron states of these 10-nm-scale quantum dots, which are tiny, very efficient energy absorbers that can release energy at custom frequencies depending on their size. Self-assembled quantum dots hold great promise for inexpensive fabrication of all kinds of novel applications such as lasers, detectors, and optical data storage, as well as in nanotechnology research. What is missing, says the team, is an understanding of the scattering effects of the electrons. Optimizing scattering may be useful as a way of efficiently transporting electrons and thereby maximizing the performance of quantum dot-based devices.

To study these effects, the researchers placed an AlGaAs/GaAs two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) near embedded GaSb/GaAs type-II quantum dots at a temperature of 4.2 K.

"The type-II GaSb quantum dots only confine the holes and not the electrons," says coauthor Chao Jiang, "so they are free to interact with the 2DEG."

Measurements at various voltages in the coupled system showed that the scattering mechanism is short-range, an idea verified by a simple model with a constant scattering potential.

"For the first time, we have clarified that the mechanism of electron scattering in this type of quantum dot system is short-range," says Chao. "The result is particularly significant for the future designing of very efficient quantum-dot-based devices."
The article, "Short Range Scattering Mechanism of Type-II GaSb/GaAs Quantum Dots on the Transport Properties of Two-dimensional Electron Gas" by Chao Jiang, Guodong Li, Hong Yin (National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, China), Qinsheng Zhu (Chinese Academy of Science) and Hiroyuki Sakaki (Toyota Technological Institute) appears in the Journal of Applied Physics.

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Journal of Applied Physics is the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) archival journal for significant new results in applied physics; content is published online daily, collected into two online and printed issues per month (24 issues per year). The journal publishes articles that emphasize understanding of the physics underlying modern technology, but distinguished from technology on the one side and pure physics on the other. See:


The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

American Institute of Physics

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