UBC Undergraduate Research

Optical microscope-based spectroscopy of metal nanostructures Backer, Lara; Caverley, Michael


A quantum dot is a piece of semiconductor material which has special electronic properties due to the fact that the quantum dot's electron wave function is confined in three dimensions to nanometer scale dimensions which are comparable to the wavelength of the electron's wave function. Optical experiments, which investigate quantum dots, are difficult to develop because of the small size scales encountered, causing low signal-to-noise ratio in measured data. In this project, a LabVIEW control system was developed for an existing Nanopositioner apparatus, which consists of an optical microscope that focuses light on to a sample placed on a stage moving in three dimensions. Coherent forward scattering imaging methods were used to create images of the sample while the stage was moved. The control system locates the center of a region delimited by circular metallic reference markers 100 μm in diameter, where nanoparticles to be scanned were placed using an atomic force microscope. Piezoelectric actuators are used to move the stage with sub micron accuracy in order to image nanoparticles on the order of 50 nm. This control system and apparatus will allow the sponsors to further their research, which ultimately has applications in both optics and quantum information processing. This project was sponsored by Dr. Jeff Young and Dr. Georg Rieger from UBC Physics and Astronomy in the Photonics and Nanostructures Laboratory. The control system and testing to obtain a reasonable scattered light signal from nanoparticles were completed by Lara Backer and Michael Caverley.

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