Resonance fluorescence and cavity quantum electrodynamics with quantum dots
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Next-generation information technology is expected to rely on discrete two-state quantum systems that can deterministically emit single photons. Quantum dots are mesoscopic (~10,000 atoms large) semiconductor islands grown in a host crystal of larger band-gap that make well-defined two-level quantum systems and are very attractive due to stability, record coherence times, and the possibility of integrating them into larger structures, such as optical microcavities. This work presents experimental progress towards understanding the coherent optical processes that occur in single quantum dots, particularly such phenomena that might be one day utilized for quantum communication applications. High resolution low temperature optical spectroscopy is used in conjunction with first order (amplitude) and second-order (intensity) correlation measurements of the emitted field. A novel technique is introduced that is capable of harvesting the fluorescence of single dots at the same frequency as the laser, previously impossible due to insurmountable scattering. This technique enables the observation, for the first time, of single quantum dot resonance fluorescence, in both the weak and strong excitation regimes, which forms the basis for deterministic generation of single photons. Guided by the rich theoretical description available from quantum optics with atoms we obtain insight into the complex dynamics of this driven system. Quantum dots confined to novel optical microcavities were further investigated using micro photoluminescence. An optical microcavity properly coupled to a two-level system can profoundly modify its emission characteristics via quantum electrodynamical effects, which are highly attractive for single photon sources. The all-epitaxial structures we probe are distinguished by a bulk morphology that overcomes the fragility problems of existing approaches, and provides high quality factors as well as small mode volumes. Lasing is obtained with larger strucutres. Additionally, isolation of individual dots is further realized in smaller cavities and the Purcell effect observed in time-resolved photon counting experiments.