Materials Research Project
Quantum dots are unique nanostructures. Here is where quantum mechanics meets solid mechanics. A part of our work recently has focused on the coupling between quantum mechanical properties of nanostructures and mechanical strain.In this research topic, we have systematically explored the scaling laws for electronic-strain coupling.
This is an area that is likely to be of active interest for decades due to its wide range of applications from next generation lasers, solar energy, chemical and bio-sensors, lighting, biological labels, quantum and optical computing among many others. More importantly, quantum dots are also a fertile laboratory to explore fundamental physics.
Currently we are investigating the prospects of using strain to remove a major bottleneck in the use of quantum dots as “super”-lasers i.e. reduction of auger recombination—a non-radiative process that becomes efficient in quantum dots (as compared with bulk) preventing the utilization of the full potential of quantum dots in next generation lasers. Very similar considerations (in the form of carrier multiplication) may suggest engineering highly efficient solar energy conversion.
Recently, we were able to show that not only strain impacts the electronic structure or quantum mechanical behavior of solids but also that quantum confinement may “produce” mechanical strain where none existed. This may have analogy to the Casimir force often termed as “the force out of nothing”. This discovery may provide the basis for quantum electromechanical systems.