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Building a nanoscale laser with quantum dots

Trainee Achievements

Building a nanoscale laser with quantum dots

IGERT trainee Matt Horning, an electrical engineer, used interdisciplinary connections he had developed through participating in the IGERT to create a collaboration with a group in chemistry to both identify and solve a research problem. He was working to design and build a nanoscale laser consisting of a gold-coated cavity filled with a quantum dot-polymer composite, but found the dots were not working as predicted. Through conversations with NT Dual Degree students in chemistry sparked by our quarterly research symposium, he learned about another type of quantum dot, commonly referred to as "type-II quantum dots," where the physical separation of electrons and holes makes it much easier to achieve lasing. Type-II quantum dots are not available to buy on the market, but can easily be made by the chemistry students. These discussions sparked a new interdisciplinary collaboration to design and fabricate the appropriate quantum dot laser system.