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Quantum dots are small nanometre sized inclusions of a lower bandgap material in a solid matrix of higher bandgap. These materials, when excited optically, show evidence of the "quantum confinement" of electrons and holes in the dot material. There is currently much activity in the field of quantum dots as there are many potential applications in optoelectronic devices and other novel applications. One such application is quantum computation.
In this field, quantum dots are a useful playground for investigation, as it is possible to grow arrays of quantum dots in vertical stacks with well defined separations. This is important, as one of the most important aspects of any quantum logic device will be the ability to control the interactions between separate qubits. The variation in spacing between dots will change their interaction strength. However, in order to build a quantum computer there are many practical difficulties to overcome.
Another interesting area related to nanowire physics, where the optical confinement inherent in these systems makes them interesting elements in nanophotonic applications, and as the image above shows, the can be made into miniature lasers with exciting possibilities in display technology.