Electron and Photon Confinement in Semiconductor Nanostructures
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The purpose of the course was to give an overview of the physics of artificial semiconductor structures confining electrons and photons. The study of the light - matter interaction in this kind of systems is relevant both to fundamental Solid State Physics and to related fields like Quantum Optics. Furthermore, it furnishes the background for several applications in particular in the domain of optical devices, lasers, light emitting diodes or photonic crystals. In recent years the research in this field has focused on the electronic and optical properties of confined semiconductor structures like Quantum Wells, Quantum Wires, Quantum Dots and semiconductor microcavities. In this context, several exciting effects have been observed. In particular, we mention the effects related to the microcavity polaritons, which are mixed electromagnetic radiation-exciton states inside a semiconductor microcavity. The study of the characteristics of such states, besides a wide interest by itself, shows strong relations with the domain of cavity quantum electrodynamics and thus with the investigation of some fundamental theoretical concepts. Also topics like the exciton localization due to disorder or the coherent control of optical pulses emitted by confined structures belong to the subjects, which are considered in the domain of semiconductor confined structures. The emission characteristics of low-dimensional systems like Quantum Wells, Quantum Wires and Quantum Dots are of enormous importance for the development of new types of semiconductor lasers and light emitting diodes.