Magneto-optical studies of quantum dots
Russ, Andreas Hans
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Significant effort in condensed matter physics has recently been devoted to the field of "spintronics" which seeks to utilize the spin degree of freedom of electrons. Unlike conventional electronics that rely on the electron charge, devices exploiting their spin have the potential to yield new and novel technological applications, including spin transistors, spin filters, and spin-based memory devices. Any such application has the following essential requirements: 1) Efficient electrical injection of spin-polarized carriers; 2) Long spin lifetimes; 3) Ability to control and manipulate electron spins; 4) Effective detection of spin-polarized carriers. Recent work has demonstrated efficient electrical injection from ferromagnetic contacts such as Fe and MnAs, utilizing a spin-Light Emitting Diode (spin-LED) as a method of detection. Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are attractive candidates for satisfying requirements 2 and 3 as their zero dimensionality significantly suppresses many spin-flip mechanisms leading to long spin coherence times, as well as enabling the localization and manipulation of a controlled number of electrons and holes. This thesis is composed of three projects that are all based on the optical properties of QD structures including: I) Intershell exchange between spin-polarized electrons occupying adjacent shells in InAs QDs; II) Spin-polarized multiexitons in InAs QDs in the presence of spin-orbit interactions; III) The optical Aharonov-Bohm effect in AlxGa1-xAs/AlyGa1-yAs quantum wells (QWs). In the following we introduce some of the basic optical properties of quantum dots, describe the main tool (spin-LED) employed in this thesis to inject and detect spins in these QDs, and conclude with the optical Aharonov-Bohm effect (OAB) in type-II QDs.