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Single Exciton Transistor based on van der Waals Heterostructures

Project description

Spinning into control: enhancing electron–photon interactions with excitons

Interactions between matter and light on the scale of single atoms or electrons and photons have opened the door to a greater understanding of quantum phenomena as well as a wealth of applications. When it comes to quantum information processing, the interaction is necessary to the control, integrity and distance required for a super-efficient data traffic highway. However, electron–photon interaction is weaker than desired. Excitons, strongly bound electron-hole pairs, interact quite strongly with light. The EU-funded SingExTr project is harnessing the unique properties of excitons in single-exciton transistors for excitonic transport with just the right properties for a wealth of applications.


The spin degree of freedom of an electron captures the essence of quantum mechanics. Via a phenomenon called Coulomb blockade, electrons can be loaded one-by-one into a microscopic device, and their spin can be probed by electrical or optical readouts, satisfying some criteria to construct a quantum processor.

Unfortunately, electrons interact indirectly with light (photons), essential for ultra-fast coherent control and to communicate the quantum information over long distances. Conversely, an exciton – a quasiparticle consisting of a strongly bound electron-hole pair in a semiconductor – interacts with light very strongly. With the emergence of atomically thin semiconductors which have exciton binding energies and Coulomb interactions ~ 100x larger than traditional semiconductors such as GaAs, it is possible to engineer a single exciton transistor. In this fellowship, I propose to pursue excitonic transport and controlled electrostatic trapping of single excitons. To realize such devices, I will stack atom-thick flakes together to form 2D heterostructures which allow separation of the electron and hole into different layers, creating an interlayer exciton which has a long lifetime, a large permanent dipole, and convenient energy scales. The interlayer excitons can strongly interact with each other, providing the repulsion energy to realize excitonic Coulomb blockade. Success in this endeavor opens a path to realizing novel sources of single photons, entangled photons, and efficient spin-photon interfaces.

This Fellowship will offer me the opportunity to acquire new skills regarding magneto-optical spectroscopy, quantum optics, transport device design and fabrication. It builds on my PhD project, where I focused on intralayer excitons in 2D materials and heterostructure fabrication. This project exploits my strong background in material/device preparation and marries it with quantum optics, which is the expertise of host group.


Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
EH14 4AS Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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Scotland Eastern Scotland Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 212 933,76