The Institute of Optics


 June 29, 2015

Researchers create optically active quantum dots in 2D semiconductor for the first time

Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that defects on an atomically thin semiconductor can produce light-emitting quantum dots. The quantum dots serve as a source of single photons and could be useful for the integration of quantum photonics with solid-state electronics – a combination known as integrated photonics.

Scientists have become interested in integrated solid-state devices for quantum information processing uses. Quantum dots in atomically thin semiconductors could not only provide a framework to explore the fundamental physics of how they interact, but also enable nanophotonics applications, the researchers say.

Read more about this work by researchers Chitraleema Chakraborty, Laura Kinnischtzke, Kenneth M. Goodfellow, Ryan Beams & A. Nick Vamivakas at the UR News Center:


Although semiconductor defects can often be detrimental to device performance, they are also responsible for the breadth of functionality exhibited by modern optoelectronic devices. Artificially engineered defects (so-called quantum dots) or naturally occurring defects in solids are currently being investigated for applications ranging from quantum information science and optoelectronics to high-resolution metrology. In parallel, the quantum confinement exhibited by atomically thin materials (semi-metals, semiconductors and insulators) has ushered in an era of flatland optoelectronics whose full potential is still being articulated. In this Letter we demonstrate the possibility of leveraging the atomically thin semiconductor tungsten diselenide (WSe2) as a host for quantum dot-like defects. We report that this previously unexplored solid-state quantum emitter in WSe2 generates single photons with emission properties that can be controlled via the application of external d.c. electric and magnetic fields. These new optically active quantum dots exhibit excited-state lifetimes on the order of 1 ns and remarkably large excitonic g-factors of 10. It is anticipated that WSe2 quantum dots will provide a novel platform for integrated solid-state quantum photonics and quantum information processing, as well as a rich condensed-matter physics playground with which to explore the coupling of quantum dots and atomically thin semiconductors.

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Nanotechnology Volume 10, June 2015, copyright 2015.