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Control and manipulation of spontaneous emission in photonic crystal and plasmonic nanostructures

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Photonic and plasmonic nanostructures offer an efficient and practical opportunity to manipulate and control the emission of light from semiconductor quantum dots down to the single photon level. Enhancing the internal and external quantum efficiency of the emission, modifying the spontaneous emission dynamics and guiding light between different locations on the same semiconductor chip are only a few interesting aspects of such nanostructures. I will begin by discussing the coupling of an individual self-assembled InGaAs quantum dot to a photonic crystal linear waveguide where we managed to demonstrate routing of single quanta of light by applying Hanbury-Brown and Twiss photon correlation spectroscopy. Such waveguides will act as fundamental building blocks for more advanced on-chip optical components (e.g. junctions, beamsplitters, etc.) and might act as quantum channels in future quantum networks, interconnecting two photonic crystal nanocavities. I will then discuss the use of photonic crystal nanocavities to enhance the light extraction in Silicon/Silicon-Germanium based semiconductor heterostructures. Here, we could demonstrate that the coupling of the emission from Silicon to the localised modes of two-dimensional photonic crystal nanocavities enhances the emission by more than a factor 400x. Temperature dependent studies show that the mode emission persists even up to room temperature and indicate that the enhancement of the photoluminescence intensity might be partly caused by increased internal quantum efficiency due to the Purcell effect. I will also present first results on optically active photonic crystal nanocavities using Germanium islands. Finally, I will discuss a selection of research activities on the optical investigation of lithographically defined metallic nanostructures. Both periodic arrays consisting of triangular shaped Au nanoparticles as well as Au waveguides have been fabricated using electron beam lithography and optically studied by white light transmission and micro-photoluminescence spectroscopy, respectively. Localised surface plasmon resonances have been observed in the nanoparticle arrays that could lead to strong enhancements of the emission of nearby emitters and, thus, might modify their spontaneous emission dynamics. In strong contrast, travelling surface plasmons are observed in metallic waveguides giving rise to the opportunity to distribute, route and control light on a chip over nanometre length scales.

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