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Using single quantum dots to probe nanowires
Date:2/5/2013

lectrical currents. Quantum dots, nanometer-sized semiconductor balls, are tailored to possess a specified set of allowed energy states; in effect the dots are artificial atoms that can be moved around. In the JQI experiment the 10-nm-wide dots (the important cadmium-selenide layer is only 3 nm thick) float in a fluid whose flow can be controlled by varying an applied voltage. The dots are drawn up close to the nanowire as if they were mines next to a submarine.

Indeed the dot is there precisely to excite the wire. The dot is fluorescence machine---in a loose sense a nanoscopic lightbulb. Striking it with green laser light, it quickly re-emits red light (one photon at a time), and it is this radiation which excites waves in the nearby wire, which acts like an antenna. But the interaction is a two-way street; the dot's emissions will vary depending on where along the length of the wire it is; the end of the wire (like any pointy lightning rod on a barn) is where electrical fields are highest and this attracts the most emission from the dot.

A CCD camera captures light coming from the dots and from the wire. The camera qualities, the optical properties of the dot, the careful positioning of the dot, and the shape and purity of the nanowire combine to provide an image of the electric field intensity of the nanowire with 12-nm accuracy. The intensity map shows that the input red light from the quantum dot (wavelength of 620 nm) has effectively been transformed into a plasmonic wavelength of 320 nm.

Chad Ropp is a graduate student working on the project and the lead author on the paper. "Plasmonic maps have been resolved before, but the quantum mechanical interactions with a single emitter have not, and not with this degree of accuracy," said Ropp.

POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS

In an actual device, the quantum dot could be replaced by a bio-particle which could be identified through the nanowire's observ
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Contact: Phillip F. Schewe
pschewe@umd.edu
301-405-0989
Joint Quantum Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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