Quantum dots

Quantum dot (QD) is a conducting island of a size comparable to the Fermi wavelength in all spatial directions. Often called the artificial atoms, however the size is much bigger (100 nm for QDs versus 0.1 nm for atoms). In atoms the attractive forces are exerted by the nuclei, while in QDs – by background charges. The number of electrons in atoms can be tuned by ionization, while in QGs – by changing the confinement potential. This is similar by a replacement of nucleus by its neighbor in the periodic table.

Quantum dots


Comparison between QDs and atoms Parameter Level spacing Ionization energy Typical magnetic field Atoms 1 eV 10 eV 104 T Quantum dots 0.1 meV 0.1 meV 1-10 T

QDs are highly tunable. They provide possibilities to place interacting particles into a small volume, allowing to verify fundamental concepts and foster new applications (quantum computing, etc).
Quantum dots 3

Phenomenology of quantum dots .

. Its electrostatic potential can be varied by changing the voltage applied to the center gate Lateral quantum dot Quantum dots 5 AFM micrograph of the gates structure to define a QD in a Ga[Al]As heterostructure.F The Au electrodes (bright) have a height of 100 nm. The two QPCs formed by the gate pairs F-Q1 and F-Q2 can be tuned into the tunneling regime. such that a QD is formed between the barriers.

but with a weak influence on QPCs. Quantum dots 6 . The F-Q1 and F-Q2 pairs behave as perfect quantized QPCs The contact F-C cannot be pinched off.Conductances of all QPCs can be tuned by proper gate voltages. but still shows depletion The central gate is designed to couple well to the dot. Blue arrow shows the working point.

Gate voltage characteristics Pronounced oscillations The reason of the oscillations was not clear in the beginning: Coulomb blockade? Resonant tunneling? The usual way to find the answer is to study magnetotransport Quantum dots 7 .

The QD has an approximately triangular shape with a width and height of about 450 nm.The position of 22 consecutive conductance resonances as function of the gate voltage and the magnetic field. They are consistent with theory (FockDarwin. The upper inset shows peak spacings at B=0 as a function of QD’s occupation.model) center gate Quantum dots 8 .

just because of change in the geometry (and consequently. in capacitances).Why the peaks are not equidistant? • There is a smooth dependence on the gate voltage. • In addition to a smooth dependence there are pronounced fluctuations – a rather rich fine structure. where the smooth part is subtracted Quantum dots 9 . This fine structure is shown in the next slide.

High magnetic fields Level fine structure for up to 45 electrons on the dot The observed structure needs an interpretation! Quantum dots 10 . Weak magnetic fields – the spacings fluctuate.One can discriminate between three main regimes: 1. with a certain tendency to bunch together for small occupation numbers. Intermediate regime – quasiperiodic cusps. 2. 3.

which is absent in SETs Quantum dots 11 . However. size of diamonds fluctuates. At larger bias a fine structure emerges.How does the stability diagram look? Resembles diamond structure for Coulomb blockage (SET) system. At low bias – resembles usual CB oscillations.

Finally. Plenty of features are waiting for their explanation! Quantum dots 12 . while the amplitude varies by up to 100%. The peak positions fluctuate by about 20% of their spacing. the amplitude of resonances can be tuned by magnetic field: Here we see amplitudes of five consecutive resonances versus magnetic field.

So we have to develop a way to find the electron addition energy. To estimate the average spacing let us use the 2D model: This energy should be compared with the typical charging energy. with positions determined by size and shape of the confining potential.What would follow from the picture of non-interacting particles? QD is a zero-dimensional system. its density of states consists of a sequence of peaks. since for an isolated dot the Coulomb blockade must come into play. Quantum dots 13 . as well as by effective mass of the host material.

The constant interaction (CI) model Quantum dots 14 .

one assumes that the kinetic energies are independent of the number electrons on the dot. . ∆E.How much do we pay to add an electron to a quantum dot? Suppose that the highest level in the dot is the next electron will occupy the level the lowest energy. if we want to remove an electron it is necessary to subtract . According to the CI model. Correspondingly. Then having To find the addition spectrum one has to add this energy to the electrostatic gain. The CI model disregards electron correlations Quantum dots 15 .

the diamond structure is distorted. their sizes (both along the V and VG axes) fluctuate due to variation of the level spacing. However.The stability diagram consists of a semi-infinite set of diamonds of similar shape. Maximum extension in V-direction: Electrostatic energy Kinetic energy The peak spacing in gate voltage at small V: Quantum dots 16 . Therefore.

What we have subtracted as a smooth part of the level spacing is just EC, so we are left with fluctuations of singleparticle energies. So far so good, but what should we do with magnetic field? Let us use an analytically solvable model (Fock, Darwin)

Then the energy terms are determined by the radial quantum number, n = 0,1,2 … , and by the angular momentum quantum number, The spectrum has the form
Quantum dots 17

Weak magnetic field: At B = 0 the energy levels are just

Each level has orbital degeneracy of j, in addition, there is a spin degeneracy 2. Similar to the atomic spectra, we can speak about jth Darwin-Fock shell. Filled shells correspond to N=2, 6, 12, 20, ..

Magnetic field will remove both orbital and spin degeneracy giving rise to rather complicated spectra.
Quantum dots 18

n, l, spin

The Darwin-Fock spectrum for Note level crossings!

Predicted evolution of conductance resonance versus gate voltage and magnetic field

Quantum dots

one can indicate filled shells at N=2.it predicts behavior of conductance resonances However. 6. 12. the agreement with experiment is not prefect Quantum dots 20 . 20 … .The Darwin-Fock model is a good starting point – it gives an idea about spectrum in magnetic field .

Intermediate magnetic fields We have explained the lowfield part of the curves by the Fock-Darwin model. Now we have to explain the cusps. Quantum dots 21 .

Let us define: Then (spin is neglected) In large magnetic field the confinement can be neglected and m+1 is just the Landau level number.Intermediate magnetic fields Since in a strong magnetic field confinement is not too important it is reasonable to come back to Landau levels. Quantum dots 22 .

Transformation of the dot levels into LLs What happens at the levels’ crossings? Different p Quantum dots 23 .

while the states with m=2 – increase. States with m=1 decrease in energy when magnetic field increases. Quantum dots 24 .. Since the number of particles is conserved. i. only two lowest Landau levels are occupied.Now let us assume that the filling factor is between 2 and 4. e. the Fermi level is switched between the Landau levels – the electrochemical potential moves along the zigzag line.

The period is approximately the typical energy spacing being . States belonging to LL1 are closer to the edge and better coupled to the leads Bright lines correspond to large conductance Quantum dots 25 .

Below the results for hard wall confinement are shown However. the shape can be to some extent reconstructed from the behavior of level spacings.The qualitative results are similar for dot with different shape. Quantum dots 26 .

Quantum rings – about 100 electrons angular moment number of flux quanta Reconstruction of energy spectrum from resonances Quantum dots 27 .

Beyond the constant interaction model Quantum dots 28 .

The total spin gets maximized without violation the Pauli principle (originates in exchange interaction keeping the electrons with parallel spins apart) 2. etc.The CI model does not include exchange and correlation effects. screening. such as spin correlations. Hund’s rules in quantum dots As known from atomic physics. The orbital angular moment must be maximal keeping restrictions of the rule #1. Quantum dots 29 . Hund’s rules determine sequence of the levels’ filling: 1. Here we discuss some of such effects.

Filling of the Fock-Darwin potential by first 6 electrons at B = 0. above the threshold for cusps. Quantum dots 30 . J is the total moment. What happens in strong magnetic field. i. Here S is the spin. L is the orbital moment. 2S+1LJ. Configurations are labeled as in atomic physics. e. for filling factor below 2? The CI model will fail and correlation effects become extremely important.

however. rapid oscillations in the peak positions were found. Experimental summary Quantum dots What is the reason? 31 .Magnetic field dispersion of the levels from 30 to 50 Energy of 39th level The crossings are only due to spin – no orbital crossings Relatively rare crossing are expected.

Guiding center lines for ν=2 (metallic states) Corresponding LLs Screening in the metallic regions Potential drops concentrate in the insulating regions Edge states evolve into metallic stripes (Chklovskii et al.To explain the observed features let us revisit the picture of edge channels.) Quantum dots 32 Density profile .

Now we have to discuss the Coulomb blockade in such system.Let us adapt this picture to circular dots. We arrive at a metallic ring and a disk separated by an insulating ring. The concrete structure depends on effective g-factor. It can be done using an equivalent circuit. The electrostatic cost of the electron transfer between the spin-down and spin-up sublevels should be taken into account. Quantum dots 33 .

Experiment Theory Quantum dots 34 . etc. coupling of the gate voltage to different island is different. The theory turned out to be rather successful.The electrostatic is not simple since capacitances depend on magnetic field.

• In intermediate magnetic fields the fieldinduced repopulation of LLs becomes crucially important. • In strong magnetic field the CI model fails. The most important are spin correlations in combination with screening effects (stripes). and correlation effects become important.Thus we arrive at the following summary: • In weak magnetic field Fock-Darwin model allows for the conductance resonances. Quantum dots 35 .

Quasi-chaotic The upper levels depend on magnetic field in a quasi-chaotic fashion. Quantum dots 36 . Sometimes people call such a behavior the quantized chaos.

The distribution of nearest neighbor spacings .

At large occupation numbers and in weak magnetic fields many levels are involved. Is it any way to find universal properties avoiding concrete energy spectrum? The proper theory is referred to as quantized chaos. The trajectory depends on the initial condition. p(0) and r(0). The classical system is called chaotic if its evolution in time depends exponentially on changes of the initial conditions. and the energy spectrum becomes very complicated. classical dynamics with specular reflection. Example . Quantum dots 38 .a particle in the box.

Quantization of chaotic dynamics is a tricky business Quantum dots 39 . Most shapes – like the Sinai billiard – show chaotic dynamics. If it diverges exponentially. The answer strongly depends on the shape of the cavity. Otherwise it is called regular. evolves in time for the time much larger then the elementary traversal time provided the position difference at the initial time is infinitesimally small.Let us discuss how the difference between 2 trajectories. then the cavity is called chaotic.

For the Fock-Darwin system at B=0 we obtain For a regular system the distribution is non-universal. Quantum dots 40 . The separations are plotted as a histogram.Universal distribution of the nearest-neighbor peak separations (NNS) and distribution of conductance resonances are the main topics discussed in context of QDs. In chaotic systems the distributions are universal. and then fitted by some distribution function. but not random (Poissonian)! The concrete form of the distribution depends on the symmetry of the Hamiltonian.

then the matrix should be orthogonal.Random matrix theory Hamiltonian is presented as a matrix in some basis. the matrix elements being assumed random. These two cases are called the Gaussian orthogonal ensemble (GOE) and Gaussian unitary ensemble (GUE). then the matrix is unitary. respectively. Quantum dots 41 . If the Hamiltonian is invariant with respect to time inversion. but satisfying symmetry requirements. If time reversal symmetry is broken.

With spin-degeneracy Quantum dots 42 .The results of rather complicated analysis shows that these cases are covered by universal Wigner-Dyson distributions.

Derivation based on Wigner surmise: Hamiltonian: Orthogonal transformation: with It follows from the equation that Now we have to calculate the level splitting. Quantum dots 43 .

Eigenvalues (in general): Splitting: Quantum dots 44 .

h2=Im h.Now. ∆ and h1=Re h. Quantum dots 45 . From the invariance with respect to unitary transformation one would get Then there are three independent variables. s ∆ h It is assumed here that p1 and p2 are smooth functions.

etc.). RMT agrees with experiments in many systems (excitation spectra of nuclei. hydrogen atom in magnetic field. and Though not strictly proved.Then we have Thus. as well as with numerical simulations Quantum dots 46 . now we have a sphere in 3D space.

This property is extensively used in numerical studies of localization.An example of numerical calculations for Sinai billiard (about 1000 eigenvalues) – histogram. Quantum dots 47 . Comparison with GOE Wigner surmise and Poisson distribution is also shown NNS distributions “know” whether the states are extended or localized.

There is no signature of bimodal distribution! Why? Experiment This is probably due to spin-orbit interaction.In quantum dots. which is beyond the CI model Quantum dots 48 . one subtracts single-electron charging energy from the measured addition spectrum.

This area is still under development. Quantum dots 49 .Studies of NNS distributions is a powerful tool for optimizing various model for residual interactions in small systems.

The shape of conductance resonances and current-voltage characteristics Quantum dots 50 .

Quantum dots 51 . This is in contrast to SET where many states are coupled to the leads and the peak amplitudes are almost constant. the peak shape and amplitude depend on the coupling to the leads. This fact can be used to find the properties of the wave functions. What can be found form the amplitude and shape of conductance resonances? Clearly.Earlier we discussed only the information emerging from peak positions.

That leads to the scenario shown below Now 2 levels contribute to transport As VG is increased further Quantum dots 52 . a new process emerges.To illustrate new possibilities let us revisit the earlier discussed conductance resonances No current flow. electrochemical potentials are inside Coulomb gap As VG increased.

Evolution of conductance with increase of the gate voltage Thus. we have a powerful spectroscopy of singleelectron levels in small structures Quantum dots 53 .

In fact. Quantum dots 54 . Single-electron levels manifest themselves as peaks in the differential conductance.Single-particle levels can be determined by high-bias transport measurements. gates are not necessary.

What about shape of resonances? This is a complicated problem since all important parameters – kBΘ. •Electron distribution function inside the dot is nonequilibrium Quantum dots 55 . ∆. No analytical expression for the shape in general case since •Coulomb correlation of tunneling through different barriers. and hΓ .are usually of the same order of magnitude.

Other types of quantum dots Quantum dots 56 .

Granular materials MO composites: Vertical dots Encapsulated 4 nm Au particles self-assembled into a 2D array Surface clusters Individual grains Quantum dots Nano-pendulum 57 .

Selfassembled arrays Ge-in-Si Components of molecular electronics Hybrid structure for CNOT quantum gate Quantum dots 58 .

etc. while the tetrapod to the far right should be handy for wiring nano-sized devices. Adapted from the web-page of the P. its properties can vary considerably as the crystal grows in size. cosmetology." Typically around ten nanometers in diameter. 59 Quantum dots . Alivisatos group The rod-shaped nanocrystals to the far left can be stacked for possible use in LEDs. medicine. Given that a nanocrystal is virtually all surface and no interior. Promising for applications in electronics.Nanocrystals Nanocrystals are aggregates of anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of atoms that combine into a crystalline form of matter known as a "cluster. nanocrystals are larger than molecules but smaller than bulk solids and therefore frequently exhibit physical and chemical properties somewhere in between.

However. This is a very exciting research area. role of electronelectron orbital and spin correlations. remain to be fully understood. in particular.Quantum dots are main ingredients of modern and future nanoscience and nanotechnology. Quantum dots 60 . There was a substantial progress in their studies. many properties are already understood. many issues.