Self-assembled quantum dots in advanced structures
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Advances in nanofabrication have bolstered the development of new optical devices with potential uses ranging from conventional optoelectronics, such as lasers and solar cells, to novel devices, like single photon or entangled photon sources. Quantum encryption of optical communications, in particular, requires devices that couple efficiently to an optical fiber and emit, on demand, indistinguishable photons. With these goals in mind, ultrafast spectroscopy is used to study the electron dynamics in epitaxially grown InAs/GaAs quantum dots (QDs). Quantifying the behavior of these systems is critical to the development of more efficient devices. Studies of two newly developed InGaAs QD structures, quantum dot clusters (QDCs) and QDs embedded in photonic wires, are presented herein. GaAs photonic wires with diameters in the range of 200 to 250 nm support only the fundamental HE11 guided mode. To fully quantify these new systems, the emission dynamics of QDs contained within wires in a large range of diameters are studied. Time correlated single photon counting measurements of the ground state exciton lifetimes are in very good agreement with predicted theoretical values for the spontaneous emission rates. For diameters smaller than 200 nm, QD emission into the HE11 mode is strongly inhibited and non-radiative processes dominate the decay rate. The best small diameter wires exhibit inhibition factors as high as 16, on par with the current state of the art for photonic crystals. The QDCs are the product of a hybrid growth technique that combines droplet heteroepitaxy with standard Stranski-Krastanov growth to create many different geometries of QDs. The work presented in this dissertation concentrates specifically on hexa-QDCs consisting of six InAs QDs around a GaAs nanomound. The first ever spectral and temporal properties of QDs within individual hexa-QDCs are presented. The QDs exhibit narrow exciton resonances with good temperature stability, indicating that excitons are well confined within individual QDs. A distinct biexponential decay is observed even at the single QD level. This behavior suggests that non-radiative decay mechanisms and exciton occupation of dark states play a significant role in the recombination dynamics in the QDCs.