• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

How Semiconductors Are Studied and Created for Nanophotonics

How Semiconductors Are Studied and Created for Nanophotonics

© iStock

Between March 27 and May 17, applications are open for the Mirror Lab Project Competition. As part of the new applications campaign, the HSE University bulletin (Okna Rosta) is publishing a series of interviews with the winners of last year's competition. In this issue, Natalia Kryzhanovskaya and Maxim Solodovnik speak about nano- and quantum technologies, as well as cooperation between HSE and Southern Federal University (SFedU).

'The Creation and Study of A3B5 Semiconductor Heterostructures with Quantum Dots for Nanophotonics, Single-photon Emitters, and Micro- and Nanolasers', a joint project between the International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics at HSE University in St Petersburg and the Laboratory of Epitaxial Technologies at Southern Federal University, won the Mirror Lab Project Competition in 2022.

— How, when and under what circumstances were the HSE International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics and the SFedU Laboratory of Epitaxial Technologies created?

The International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics was established by order of HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov on January 20, 2020, as part of the St Petersburg School of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science. In 2020, the laboratory team was formed, premises were prepared to accommodate the equipment, and workstations were set up. Research equipment was purchased and used to set up a unique, one-of-a-kind Complex Optoelectronic Stand. In 2022, the laboratory was equipped with additional new scientific measuring instruments. The current set of research equipment enables the study of the properties of semiconductor micro- and nanostructures, as well as devices based on them.

At Southern Federal University, the process was somewhat different. Molecular beam epitaxy and A3B5 semiconductor technology were new areas of research for SFedU, so their laboratory had to be created from scratch, and putting together a team of researchers took quite a while. In 2019, they officially established a separate research group to focus on this area. At first, the group consisted of only four people, and its main research focus was broadly defined as nanoscale structuring of surfaces and the study of epitaxial growth processes of self-organising nanostructures on them.

The two research teams first met at Saint Petersburg OPEN, a conference for young scientists focused on optoelectronics, photonics, and nanostructures. Starting in 2021, this annual conference has been hosted by HSE University-St Petersburg. Since then, the collaboration between our two teams has been expanding, and in 2022, we decided to apply to the Mirror Lab Project Competition held by HSE. Based on the outcome of the competition, the Laboratory of Epitaxial Technologies was set up at SFedU as part of its Institute of Nanotechnology, Electronics, and Instrumentation; today, the laboratory employs ten people.

— Could you tell us more about your project 'The Creation and Study of A3B5 Semiconductor Heterostructures with Quantum Dots for Nanophotonics, Single-photon Emitters, and Micro- and Nanolasers'? What areas of research does it focus on? What are the most interesting results?

The project aims to study the processes involved in obtaining and creating A3B5 nanostructures with quantum dots that can be positioned as needed to serve as building blocks for integrated optoelectronic and nanophotonic applications, including nano- and micro-sized radiation sources. Quantum dots are semiconductor objects at the nanoscale level that have a spectrum resembling that of atoms, which is why they are sometimes referred to as artificial atoms. By altering the shape and size of such objects, it becomes possible to manipulate their electronic structure, and consequently, their optical properties, including the properties of devices based on them. Arranging such objects in a specific order on a surface presents great opportunities for both exploring new effects and designing novel devices. Creating pits (depressions) of various shapes and densities on the surface enables quantum dot formation in desired locations and broadens the potential for controlling their properties. Despite the apparent simplicity of this approach, researchers encounter numerous scientific and technological challenges in practice that require separate investigation, as many processes in such systems unfold differently and are not yet fully understood. Exploring the structural and optical properties of such objects makes it possible to assess their potential for subsequent application and provides insight into specific aspects of their growth, thereby expanding our ability to manipulate these processes at all levels.

One of the intriguing early findings of our project is that the shape of created pits not only influences the size and shape of the nanostructures growing within them, but also has a direct impact on the process of their formation. In other words, the emergence of these objects can vary depending on the pit in which they are formed. As a result, certain structures become optically and functionally active, while others do not. It is expected that these findings will be presented at the Saint Petersburg OPEN conference.

The project also aims to develop techniques for creating micro- and nanometer-scale optical resonators in heterostructures containing positioned quantum dots, specifically In(Ga)As/GaAs. This represents a step towards the development of devices that are directly based on such structures, specifically micro- and nanoscale sources of optical radiation, including quantum sources. These devices show promise as fundamental building blocks not just for telecommunication systems, but also for integrated sensors, quantum and optical computing, quantum cryptography systems, secure data transmission, and other applications.

— How did you assemble the team of researchers working on the project? How did you initially meet and begin your collaboration? What areas of professional expertise do the teams at your laboratories share?

Alexey Zhukov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, is the academic supervisor of the International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics. When the laboratory was established in 2020, it had a total of ten staff members, of whom seven were full-time employees. By the time we applied to the Mirror Lab Project Competition, the team had grown to 14 members. The laboratory has since been able to expand its team by involving students in research work. In 2023, a doctoral programme in physics was opened at HSE in St Petersburg, and enrolment in the new Physics of Semiconductors doctoral programme is currently underway. The involvement of Russian postdoctoral fellows through competitive selection at HSE has been a successful experience for the laboratory.

The collaboration between the two laboratories is centred around the unique capability of Southern Federal University’s team to perform epitaxial synthesis of semiconductor nanomaterials in the form of low-density In(Ga)As/GaAs quantum dots and the post-processing of these structures. In turn, the International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics at HSE in St Petersburg provides expertise in optical research of such structures using unique scientific equipment, as well as experience in creating light-emitting devices based on quantum dots.

— What near-future objectives has your project team set for itself?

One of the areas that the International Laboratory of Quantum Optoelectronics at HSE in St Petersburg has been focusing on is research and development into miniature laser sources and photodetectors for integrated optical and optoelectronic circuits. These circuits are suitable for various applications such as optical transmission and processing of information, as well as optical sensors. We have made significant progress in this direction in recent years, but there are still many scientific and technological challenges that need to be addressed. One of the most important objectives is to improve the performance of our microlasers, surpassing the 10 Gbit/sec achieved so far. We also have great hopes that our proposed solutions will have practical applications.

See also:

HSE ‘Mirror Laboratories’ Project Marks Five Years since Start

‘Mirror Laboratories’ is one of the flagship programmes of the HSE University aimed at developing domestic scientific partnerships. During the implementation of the project, 41 research projects were initiated in partnership with 30 regional universities and scientific organisations. A series of round tables timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the ‘Mirror Laboratories’ project, were held at the HSE University on April 24–25, 2024.

Fuad Aleskerov: 'Decision-Making under Deep Uncertainty'

In an interview for HSE News Service, Fuad Aleskerov, Distinguished Professor of HSE University and Member of Academia Europaea, shares his insights into making decisions under deep uncertainty, highlights the crucial role of cooperation in this context, and unveils plans for the upcoming launch of a specialised course on decision-making and the establishment of a mirror laboratory at HSE University.

HSE University and University of Technology Malaysia Launch Mirror Lab

HSE University in St Petersburg and University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) have launched a mirror lab in social entrepreneurship. The agreement was signed in Kuala Lumpur on November 9 during a meeting of the Joint Russian-Malaysian Commission on Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation. The document was signed by Anna Tyshetskaya, Director of HSE University-St Petersburg, and Rosli Illias, UTM Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation.

HSE and National University of Uzbekistan to Open Mirror Laboratory on Economics

HSE University and the National University of Uzbekistan have agreed to launch a mirror laboratory for the study of topical economic issues. The Protocol of Intent was signed by HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov and NUU Rector Inom Majidov as part of the Interregional Conference for University Rectors of Russia and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Joint Project of Scientists from HSE University and Surgut State University to Help Prevent Recurrent Heart Attacks and Strokes

One of the winning projects of a competition held by HSE University’s Mirror Laboratories last June focuses on the use of machine learning technologies to predict the outcomes of acute coronary syndrome. It is implemented by HSE University’s International Laboratory of Bioinformatics together with the Research and Educational Centre of the Medical Institute at Surgut State University. Maria Poptsova, Head of the International Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Associate Professor at HSE University’s Faculty of Computer Science, talks about how this joint project originated, how it will help patients, and how work to implement it will be organised.

‘Our Experimental Economics Community Welcomes Everyone from Professors to Bachelor’s Students’

From September 19–27, 2023, the Third Pacific School Conference on Experimental Economics (PSEE) will take place in Vladivostok. The conference has been organised by the HSE UniversityInternational Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics as part of the Mirror Laboratories project with the Research Laboratory for Modelling Socio-Economic Processes at Far Eastern Federal University. The conference will be held in an in-person format, and foreign participants can take part online.

Results of HSE University’s Mirror Laboratories Contest Announced

This year, HSE University held the Mirror Laboratories project contest for the fourth time. A total of 19 applications were submitted to the contest from 16 HSE University research departments partnered with 16 organisations from 14 Russian regions. Following the contest results, 10 research projects received support.

HSE University Launches Fourth Mirror Laboratories Competition

The competition is open to HSE University research units planning to conduct joint projects with academic institutions, research organisations and state academic centres of the Russian Federation.

Mathematicians and Practicing Surgeons to Fight Venous Diseases

One million people in Russia suffer from venous diseases. The ‘Intelligent data analysis for healthcare information systems’ Mirror Lab project brings together expertise in mathematics and medicine in order to better diagnose various conditions in phlebology. Project leader Vasilii Gromov talked to The HSE LooK about its achievements and prospects.

An Economics and Engineering Approach to Energy Supply Development in Remote Areas of Russia

Ilya Dolmatov, Director of the HSE Institute of Economics and Utility Regulation, heads a Mirror Lab project titled ‘Models of Energy Infrastructure Development in Russia’s Remote and Isolated Territories’ and implemented together with a university in Irkutsk. Why is energy efficiency a particularly pressing problem in remote territories? How can economics and engineering work together to solve it? Ilya Dolmatov addressed these and other issues in his interview for The HSE LooK.