Optical Control of Exciton Qubits in Semiconductor Quantum Dots Using Pulse Shaping Techniques
Semiconductor quantum dots have been featured in a number of proposals for quantum computing because of the advantages afforded by confinement on the nanoscale, such as well separated, discrete energy levels and ease of optical manipulation. In addition, they can leverage established semiconductor fabrication techniques and, like the quantum dots used in this work, can be designed to match the telecommunication band, improving the scalability and potential integration of the platform into existing technologies. This thesis work applied optical pulse engineering to manipulate exciton qubits in self-assembled InAs quantum dots. Optimal quantum control theory was used to design pulse shapes that implement high fidelity single-qubit and two-qubit operations, with constraints on the numerical optimization that ensure that the pulses can be accurately implemented using a commercial 4f pulse shaper. In the case of single-qubit operations, the results showed that two uncoupled qubits can be manipulated in parallel using a single phase-shaped laser pulse, provided their optoelectronic properties are sufficiently different. It was demonstrated that targeted differences in inversion and phase between the qubits can be achieved on an ultrafast timescale with high fidelity. In the case of two-qubit operations, the controlled-rotation gate was optimized using amplitude-only and phase-only pulse shaping schemes. The shaped pulses for both schemes were shown to produce higher fidelity operations. The ability to implement robust state inversion on short timescales is particularly useful for technologies such as ultrafast optical switches, single-photon sources, and entangled-photon sources. This work has demonstrated state inversion in a single InAs quantum dot via adiabatic rapid passage using linearly chirped laser pulses. The achieved gate times were an order of magnitude shorter than previous demonstrations. Theoretical predictions of the dependence of the inversion efficiency of the exciton on the sign of the pulse chirp were also verified experimentally, allowing for the identification of phonon-mediated dephasing as the dominant source of decoherence.