Modern technology makes it possible today to produce structures in the size range of a few nanometers, i.e. thousands of these nanostructures fit into the diameter of a hair. For the movement of the particles in these structures, a trillionth of a second, i.e. a picosecond, is already a small eternity. On these extreme scales, completely new effects arise compared to what we know from our everyday life, because quantum physics dominates there. These effects can be studied with laser pulses and even the dynamics in the nanostructures can be controlled. Understanding them requires theoretical description and computer-aided simulations, which is the focus of our work. We consider structures made of semiconductor materials, especially so-called quantum dots, as well as metallic structures that act like antennas for visible light. The simulations allow us to predict how to control the dynamics, which is of crucial importance for applications in quantum information technology.
Semiconductor quantum dots have a discrete energy spectrum that can be influenced by the shape of the quantum dot. The states in the quantum dot can thereby be very well controlled by light. Quantum dots can be confined in microcavities to study effects of semiconductor quantum optics. Quantum dots can emit single or entangled photons, making them particularly attractive for applications in quantum information technology. Unlike atoms, quantum dots are always coupled to phonons, which can lead to disruptive but also interesting new phenomena.
On the one hand, we investigate the influence of phonons on the optically induced dynamics in the quantum dot. On the other hand, we are interested in the photon states produced by the quantum dot. Furthermore, we look at the higher excited states in the quantum dot. For the description we use different analytical and numerical methods.
- Phonon effects in quantum dots (Thomas Bracht, in collaboration with AG Kuhn from WWU Münster and AG Axt from Bayreuth)
- Quantum dots for the generation of (entangled) photons (Thomas Bracht, Gregor Rieke, in collaboration with AG Axt from Bayreuth, AG Rastelli from Linz and AG Weihs from Innsbruck)
- Higher excited states in quantum dots (Jan Kaspari, in collaboration with AG Machnikowski from Breslau)
Nanostructured materials make it possible to control and specifically manipulate the properties of light on the nanoscale. An example of this is photonic crystals, in which a periodic structure means that light of a certain wavelength cannot move through the material. By intentionally creating defects, light can be spatially confined in so-called cavities. An important question here is how to excite these localized modes using a quantum emitter.
Another example of controlling light is metallic nanostructures that exhibit plasmonic resonances. This allows fields to be strongly localized, e.g., between two nanostructures, producing extremely enhanced intensity. This leads to a particularly strong light-matter interaction between the field and an emitter placed at the site of the strongest enhancement.
To study these exciting structures, we use numerical methods and also make use of existing program packages. Our focus is on understanding the light-matter interaction at the nanoscale.
- Coupling of single emitters to cavities in photonic crystals (Jan Olthaus, Maximilian Sohr, in collaboration with AG Schuck from WWU Münster and AG Oh from Cardiff)
- Classification of photonic topological structures (Maximilian Sohr, Jan Olthaus, in collaboration with AG Oh from Cardiff)
Nowadays, it is possible to produce semiconductor layers consisting of one or a few atomic layers. Examples are graphene, which has a vanishing band gap, and the so-called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) with a finite band gap. These materials are quasi-two-dimensional. In TMDCs, the potential for the conduction electrons can be changed by deformation so that a potential well is created. If electrons now move through the material, they can scatter into this potential well, releasing their excess energy in the form of phonons.
We are investigating how electrons move in these novel semiconductor materials. Due to the small scales, a quantum mechanical description is essential. We can describe the electrons as localized wave packets and show that the scattering is local. In doing so, we analyze the spatially and temporally resolved motion of the charge carriers under the influence of various interaction mechanisms.
- Spatially and temporally resolved charge carrier dynamics in TMDCs
- Optical measurement of spatiotemporal dynamics in semiconductors
- Signatures of phonon interaction in optical signals of TMDCs
A light beam is often described by a plane wave in which the wave fronts are spatially homogeneous perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Complex light beams, on the other hand, are characterized by spatially structured wave fronts, resulting in a complex phase relationship. An example of a complex light beam is the so-called twisted light, which has a spiral wavefront as well as a phase singularity and thus a vanishing intensity on the beam axis. A twisted light beam has an additional torque, which could be exploited, for example, in communication technologies to encode information. If such a beam hits matter, different processes can be excited than with a plane wave. In this work, we are investigating on the one hand the mathematical formulation of light-matter interaction with complex light fields, and on the other hand we are performing numerical simulations to study the interaction of twisted light with metallic nanostructures exhibiting plasmonic resonances.
- Interaction of complex light fields with plasmonic nanoantennas
- Theoretical formulation of the twisted light-matter interaction
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.