Open Questions: Quantum Effects Technology

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See also: Quantum theory -- Quantum information and computing -- Condensed matter physics -- Carbon nanotubes -- Nanotechnology



Quantum dots

Slowing, stopping, and storing light

Quantum optics


Superconducting quantum-interference devices

Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books


Quantum effects are real. Devices that are now very familiar, such as transistors and lasers, depend on them. But our increasing ability to manipulate matter at very low temperatures and in very small dimensions (comparable to the wavelength of light, or less) continues to open up new areas where we can make things whose behavior depends crucially on the quirks of quantum mechanics.

Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Sites with general resources: Spintronics

Spintronics and Spin Quantum Computation Group
Home page of a research group at the University of Maryland. Includes a brief overview: Introduction to Spintronics and Spin Quantum Computation.
Awschalom Group
Home page of a research group at the University of California at Santa Barbara that works on optical and magnetic interactions in semiconductor quantum structures, spin dynamics and coherence in condensed matter systems ("spintronics").
Magnetoelectronics and Spintronics
Overview of IBM research projects in the areas of magnetoelectronics and spintronics. One project involves spin transistors and other spintronics devices.
The Giant Magnetoresistive Effect
Pages about IBM's invention of the first practical spintronics devices.

Surveys, overviews, tutorials: Spintronics

Article from Wikipedia.
The spintronics challenge
January 2008 article from Physics World, by Tony Bland, Kiyoung Lee and Stephan Steinmüller. "Microelectronic devices that exploit the spin of the electron as well as its charge promise to revolutionize the electronics industry. The challenge is to find a way of integrating semiconductors into such "spintronic" circuits."
A Hall of spin
Summary of November 2005 article in Physics World, by Vanessa Sih, Yuichiro Kato and David Awschalom. "The experimental observation of the spin Hall effect could open up a new era in spintronics."
Injection of spin for electronics
August 2001 article from Physics World, by Michael Oestreich. "Electronic devices that exploit the spin of electrons as well as their charge are poised to overcome a major hurdle that could signal the beginning of an electronics revolution."
Very brief overview of the subject.
Spintronics turns a corner
May 2001 news article from Physicsweb, about injecting electons with identical spin into a semiconductor.
Researchers Spin Electrons with Electricity
December 2001 Scientific American news article about manipulating electron spins in semiconductors with applied voltages.
New Technique for 'Tipping' Electron Spins
June 2001 Scientific American news article about a new technique for manipulating electron spins within ultrafast timescales.
Researchers Pass Electron Spin from One Semiconductor to Another
June 2001 Scientific American news article about passing clouds of electron spin between p-type and n-type semiconductors.
A New Spin for Future Electronic Devices
May 2001 Scientific American news article about making spin-polarized electric currents in semiconductor layers.

Sites with general resources: Quantum dots

Quantum Dot Corporation
Web site of a company that develops products using quantum dots for applications in life science research.

Surveys, overviews, tutorials: Quantum dots

Quantum Dots
A ScienceWeek "symposium" consisting of excerpts and summaries of articles from various sources.
Quantum dots
"A short introduction to quantum dots and an overview of the research in the group of Leo Kouwenhoven."
Biological quantum dots go live
March 2003 article in Physics World, by Laurent A Bentolila and Shimon Weiss. "Nanocrystals have overcome their fear of water to image living embryonic cells."
Quantum dots break new ground
Summary of March 2002 article in Physics World, by Peter Michler. "The sequence of photons emitted by artificial atoms can now be controlled by optical pumping."
Quantum dots
Summary of June 1998 article in Physics World, by Leo Kouwenhoven and Charles Marcus. "Quantum dots make it possible to explore new physics in regimes that cannot otherwise be accessed in the laboratory."
Looking inside quantum dots
June 2000 news article in Physics World about experiments that help to understand how quantum dots emit light.
Quantum dots detect single photons
May 2000 news article in Physics World about a sinle-photon detector based on quantum dots.

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

NanoLights! Camera! Action!
Jessica Gorman
Science News, February 15, 2003
Tiny semiconductor crystals reveal cellular activity like never before.
David D. Awschalom, Michael E. Flatté, and Nitin Samarth
Scientific American, June 2002,
Computing with a Twist
Neil Savage
Discover, January 2002, pp. 21-22
Spintronics uses the electron's property of spin instead of its charge in order to represent bits of information, with applications ranging from very dense computer memories to (perhaps) quantum computers.
Gadgets from the Quantum Spookhouse
Peter Weiss
Science News, December 8, 2001, pp. 364-366
Quantum effects may be more easily put to use for other things besides computers -- such as navigation devices, chip-making equipment, and atomic clocks.
Sankar Das Sarma
American Scientist, November-December 2001, pp. 516-523
Electrons carry quanta of spin as well as electric charge. Spin can represent binary units of information just as charge can. Microdevices such as transistors and more complex circuits that utilize spin are under active development. They may ultimately find application in quantum computers.
[Abstract and references]
Ultimate Alchemy
Wil McCarthy
Wired, October 2001, pp. 150-157, 180-183
Mesoscale physics is the physics of matter between the nanoscale (10-9 m) and the microscale (10-6 m). It's historically (and more prosaically) known as condensed matter physics. One offshoot may be "artificial atoms" -- programmable matter which can change properties on command. Much of the magic is based on "quantum dots".
Epitaxially Self-Assembled Quantum Dots
Pierre M. Petroff; Axel Lorke; Atac Imamoglu
Physics Today, May 2001, pp. 46-52
Quantum dots are nanometer-sized regions on a semiconductor in which carriers or excitons are confined in three dimensions. They have potential applications in optical and optoelectronic devices, quantum computing, and information storage.
The Single-Atom Laser
Michael S. Feld; Kyungwon An
Scientific American, July 1998, pp. 56-63
Conventional lasers use billions or trillions of atoms to produce a coherent monochromatic beam of light. The authors have developed a laser that can do the same with just a single atom. This invention illuminates the interaction between light and matter, and may some day help to produce an optical computer.
Paul L. Gourley
Scientific American, March 1998, pp. 56-61
Semiconductor lasers can now be fabricated that are only a couple of microns in their larges dimension. Applications include fiber-optic communications and, perhaps someday, optical computers.
Quantum Seeing in the Dark
Paul Kwiat; Harald Weinfurter; Anton Zeilinger
Scientific American, November 1996, pp. 72-78
Quantum optics, using what is known as the quantum Zeno effect, can make possible interaction-free measurement. It is conceivable that this could lead to new imaging techniques in which light never touches the object being imaged.
Artificial Atoms
Marc A. Kastner
Physics Today, January 1993, pp. 24-31
Quantum dots (also known as "single-electron transistors" and "artificial atoms") are very small particles of metals or semiconductors a few tens of nanometers in size. Their charge and energy are quantized just like those of an atom. A current through a quantum dot can be controlled by the charge of a single electron.
Quantum Dots
Mark A. Reid
Scientific American, January 1993, pp. 118-123
Semiconductor fabrication technology now makes it possible to build structures which confine an electron to a space just 10 nanometers on a side -- a quantum dot. Such quantum dots may be used in a variety of new electonic and optical applications.

Recommended references: Books

Gerard J. Milburn -- Schrödinger's Machines: The Quantum Technology Reshaping Everyday Life
W. H. Freeman and Company, 1997
Milburn offers a relatively short overview of several potentially important quantum technologies. The list includes manipulation of individual atoms, atom optics, quantum nanocircuits, quantum cryptography, and quantum computing.
Richard Turton -- The Quantum Dot: A Journey into the Future of Microelectronics
Oxford University Press, 1996
Turton's book is about microelectronics as implemented with semiconductor technology today and as it might evolve in the future with technologies like "quantum dots". Existing technology is thoroughly discussed. Possible successor technologies such as superconductors and photon-based computation are treated towards the end of the work.


Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved