Spins and orbits in semiconductor quantum dots

Camenzind, Leon. Spins and orbits in semiconductor quantum dots. 2019, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_13250

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Spins in semiconductor quantum dots are among the most promising candidates for the realization of a scalable quantum bit (qubit), the basic building block of a quantum computer.
With this motivation, spin and orbital properties of quantum dots in three different semiconductor systems are investigated in this thesis:
depletion mode quantum dots in GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructures as well as in silicon-germanium core-shell nanowires (GeSi NW), and accumulation mode quantum dots formed in a fin field-effect transistor (FinFET).
The chronological order of this thesis reflects two major shifts of focus of the semiconductor spin qubit research in recent years: a transition from lateral GaAs quantum dots towards scalable, silicon-based systems and a change from electrons towards holes as the host of the spin qubit because of better prospects for spin manipulation and spin coherence.
In a lateral GaAs single electron quantum dot, a new in-plane magnetic-field-assisted spectroscopy is demonstrated, which allows one to deduce the three dimensional confinement potential landscape of the quantum dot orbitals, which gives insight into the alignment of the ellipsoidal quantum dot with respect to the crystal axes. With this full model of the confinement at hand, the dependence of the spin relaxation on the direction and strength of an in-plane magnetic field is investigated. To mitigate the spin relaxation anisotropy due to anisotropic in-plane confinement of the quantum dot, said confinement is symmetrized by tuning the gate voltages to obtain a circular quantum dot.
Then, the experimentally observed spin relaxation anisotropy can be attributed to the interplay of Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit interaction (SOI) present in GaAs. By using a theoretical model, the strength and the relative sign of the Rashba and Dresselhaus SOI was obtained for the first time in such a quantum dot. From the dependence of the spin relaxation on the magnetic field strength, hyperfine induced phonon mediated spin relaxation was demonstrated -- a process predicted more than 15 years ago. Here, the hyperfine interaction leads to a mixing of spin and orbital degrees of freedom and facilitates spin relaxation. Limited by this relaxation process, a spin relaxation time of 57 +/- 15 s was measured -- setting the current record for spin lifetime in a nanostructure. Inspired by the unprecedented knowledge of the confinement and the SOI in the quantum dots used, a new theory to quantify the various corrections to the g-factor was developed. Later, these theoretical predictions have been experimentally validated by measurements of the g-factor anisotropy using pulsed-gate spectroscopy.
Due to short spin qubit coherence time in GaAs, which is limited by the nuclear spins, a better approach is to build a spin qubit in a semiconductor vacuum with little or no nuclear spins. Because holes have minimal overlap with the nuclei of the semiconductor due to the p-type symmetry of their wave function, this type of decoherence is strongly suppressed when changing the host of the spin qubit from electrons to holes. The longer coherence times in combination with the predicted emergence of a direct type of Rashba SOI (DRSOI) -- a particularly strong and electrically controllable SOI -- motivated the investigation of hole quantum dots in GeSi NW. In this system, anisotropic behavior of the leakage current through a double quantum dot in Pauli spin blockade was observed. This anisotropy is qualitatively explained by a phenomenological model, which involves an anisotropic g-factor and an effective spin-orbit field. While the dominant type of SOI could not be resolved conclusively, the obtained data is not inconsistent with the expectation of DRSOI.
Because each wire has to be placed manually, this NW based system lacks scalability. Hole and electron quantum dots in an industry-compatible silicon FinFET structure, conversely, are promising candidates for scalable spin qubits and, therefore, hold the potential to be used in a spin-based quantum computer. Recently, DRSOI was predicted to also emerge in narrow silicon channels such as FinFETs. In this thesis, the formation of accumulation mode hole quantum dots in such a FinFET structure is reported -- an important first step towards the realization of a scalable, all-electrically controllable, DRSOI hole spin qubit.
Advisors:Zumbühl, Dominik M. and Tarucha, Seigo
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Physik > Physik > Experimentalphysik Quantenphysik (Zumbühl)
UniBasel Contributors:Camenzind, Leon and Zumbühl, Dominik M.
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:13250
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (VI, 198 Seiten)
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:01 Jul 2020 04:30
Deposited On:04 Sep 2019 08:45

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