Editorial Feature

Emerging Trends in Quantum Semiconductor Devices

Over the last few decades, the semiconductor industry has played a significant role in accelerating innovation in technology. Semiconductors, an important material in the age of quantum computers, are gaining popularity, particularly in the field of quantum information handling. This article presents a review of the latest research and breakthroughs in the domain of quantum semiconductor devices and materials.

Quantum Semiconductor Devices, Semiconductor Devices

Image Credit: ZinetroN/Shutterstock.com

What are Epitaxial Quantum Dots?

Photons exhibit the capability to convey information across extensive distances. By utilizing photons as quantum bits (qubits), quantum technologies have achieved notable progress in quantum networks, quantum simulation, and computation.

The latest article published in Photonics Insights states that epitaxial quantum dots can be simplified as dual-level emitters. These are nanoscale semiconductor hetero-structures, typically a few nanometers in height.

The formation of quantum dots occurs spontaneously during in situ epitaxial growth—a self-assembly process. To produce high-quality quantum dots, ultra-pure materials are required in the self-assembly procedure, ensuring the effective suppression of defects and impurity levels. The self-assembly of quantum dots commonly occurs within a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) chamber, a specialized environment offering required growth conditions and precise control over growth parameters.

Another approach from the bottom-up is droplet epitaxy (DE). In the DE growth technique, a material from group III (such as Ga or Al) is applied onto the substrate's surface, leading to the formation of nano-droplets.

Following this, a subsequent annealing process involving the introduction of group V flux (like As) brings about the crystallization of these nano-droplets, transforming them into nanoislands. The DE methodology can also be customized to produce quantum dots with symmetrical configurations or on various substrate orientations.

In the last decade, there has been a robust advancement in epitaxial quantum dot development. It enabled the production of single photons from a quantum dot at an exceedingly rapid pace and with remarkable efficiency. It can confidently be concluded that quantum-dot technologies have reached a phase nearly ready for integration into practical applications within the realm of the quantum Internet and quantum information processing.

A Novel Optical Method for Embedded Quantum Semiconductor Devices

The effectiveness of a semiconductor quantum-electronic device is fundamentally dependent on the quality of the constituent semiconductor materials and the efficiency with which the device is shielded against electrostatic fluctuations originating from unavoidable surface charges.

As per the recent article published in Nanomaterials, electrostatic fluctuations originate from unavoidable surface charges. The present technology for fabricating quantum semiconductor devices relies on surface gates, yet these gates impose substantial restrictions on the maximum distance from the surface where tailored electrostatic potentials can be engineered.

Additionally, surface gates introduce strain fields that result in imperfections within the semiconductor crystal structure. An alternative approach for establishing confining electrostatic potentials within semiconductors involves the utilization of light and photosensitive dopants.

Light can be organized into precisely parallel sheets of high and low intensity, effectively penetrating deep into a semiconductor. Importantly, the application of light doesn't compromise the quality of the semiconductor crystal.

Structured light was used by the researchers to generate metastable states of photo-sensitive impurities within a GaAs/AlGaAs quantum well structure. This innovative approach facilitated the establishment of periodic electrostatic potentials at significant pre-defined distances from the surface of the sample.

Significantly, the non-planar surface structures' height/depth remained considerably insignificant in comparison to the wavelength of the illuminating light. Consequently, these structures exhibited negligible impact on the interference pattern within the semiconductor samples.

Solid State Platform for Quantum Semiconductors

Solid-state quantum technologies (QT) have garnered substantial interest in recent times. The demand for quantum computers is on the rise, driven by the necessity for enhanced computing capabilities to tackle intricate and multidimensional scientific challenges. Semiconductor-based quantum technologies hinge on the utilization of either defects or quantum dots.

A comprehensive framework has been proposed in NPJ Computational Materials for data mining and automated discovery in the pursuit of promising semiconductor hosts for Quantum Technologies (QT). This framework combines targeted database exploration, machine learning (ML) techniques, and domain expertise.

The process begins with data extraction from diverse databases, followed by the conversion of this data into meaningful features. The dataset encompasses a total of 25,000 materials.

Among these, a subset has been categorized as either viable or unsuitable candidates for QT, with the remaining materials left unlabeled. The labeled subset is then divided into training and test sets to facilitate the application of ML methods.

Four thoroughly validated ML algorithms are deployed to the labeled dataset to classify specific materials as potential systems for QT. This endeavor results in multiple sets of predicted candidates. The ML methodologies employed encompass logistic regression, decision trees, and the ensemble techniques of random forests and gradient boosting.

Following the training and validation of the ML algorithms on the labeled data, these algorithms are subsequently employed on the unlabeled data. This step yields predictions for appropriate host materials for QT.

The obvious distinction between suitable and unsuitable candidates post-labeling, along with the reduced number of primary constituents necessary for optimal ML algorithm performance, emphasizes the suitability of the empirical approach. This approach is notably proficient at conducting guided searches through materials databases for this specific purpose.

Progress in Quantum Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices

Quantum dots (QDs), the constituent part of quantum semiconductor devices, are utilized for various different applications. Researchers, in the latest article published in Electronics, state that owing to their unique optical and electrical attributes, these quantum dots hold considerable promise in the realm of photodetector sensors. Notably, among these materials, cadmium sulfide (CdS) stands out as the most extensively explored QD material in the context of photodetector sensors.

Spherical semiconductor nanocrystals, referred to as colloidal quantum dots (CDs) and nanowires, have gained significant attention within the laser industry. This versatility originates from their capacity for size variation, optical alterations, and solution processibility. Notably, QD-based semiconductors stand out due to their comparative ease of manipulation in terms of size and shape when compared to conventional semiconductor materials.

Quantum dots (QDs) embedded into photodetectors hold a promising future characterized by the potential for increased performance, reduced expenses, and novel applications. Anticipated advancements in quantum dot photodetectors present multiple advantages, including higher sensitivity, swift response duration, and outstanding efficiency exceeding the existing counterparts.

The compelling force behind investments in quantum semiconductors is mainly due to their capability to potentially revolutionize the computing sector. Quantum computing holds the power to address challenges that are challenging for classical computers, thus paving the way for remarkable breakthroughs in domains such as materials science, drug discovery, and cryptography. This potential to bring about revolutionary advancements makes quantum semiconductor devices the center of attention all over the world.

More from AZoQuantum: Learning How to Control Quantum Randomness

References and Further Reading

Xiaoyan Z. et. al. (2022). Epitaxial quantum dots: a semiconductor launchpad for photonic quantum technologies. Photonics Insights. 1(2): R07. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3788/PI.2022.R07 

Hnatovsky C. et. al. (2023). An Optical Technique to Produce Embedded Quantum Structures in Semiconductors. Nanomaterials. 13(10):1622. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13101622

Hebnes, L. et al. (2022). Predicting solid state material platforms for quantum technologies. npj Comput Mater 8, 207. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41524-022-00888-3

Shabbir H, Wojnicki M. (2023). Recent Progress of Non-Cadmium and Organic Quantum Dots for Optoelectronic Applications with a Focus on Photodetector Devices. Electronics. 12(6):1327. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12061327

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ibtisam Abbasi

Written by

Ibtisam Abbasi

Ibtisam graduated from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. During his academic career, he has worked on several research projects and has successfully managed several co-curricular events such as the International World Space Week and the International Conference on Aerospace Engineering. Having won an English prose competition during his undergraduate degree, Ibtisam has always been keenly interested in research, writing, and editing. Soon after his graduation, he joined AzoNetwork as a freelancer to sharpen his skills. Ibtisam loves to travel, especially visiting the countryside. He has always been a sports fan and loves to watch tennis, soccer, and cricket. Born in Pakistan, Ibtisam one day hopes to travel all over the world.


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