Far-field nanoscopy on a semiconductor quantum dot via a rapid-adiabatic-passage-based switch


The diffraction limit prevents a conventional optical microscope from imaging at the nanoscale. However, nanoscale imaging of molecules is possible by exploiting an intensity-dependent molecular switch1,2,3. This switch is translated into a microscopy scheme, stimulated emission depletion microscopy4,5,6,7. Variants on this scheme exist3,8,9,10,11,12,13, yet all exploit an incoherent response to the lasers. We present a scheme that relies on a coherent response to a laser. Quantum control of a two-level system proceeds via rapid adiabatic passage, an ideal molecular switch. We implement this scheme on an ensemble of quantum dots. Each quantum dot results in a bright spot in the image with extent down to 30 nm (λ/31). There is no significant loss of intensity with respect to confocal microscopy, resulting in a factor of 10 improvement in emitter position determination. The experiments establish rapid adiabatic passage as a versatile tool in the super-resolution toolbox.

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Fig. 1: Concept of nanoscopic imaging of a quantum mechanical TLS.
Fig. 2: RAP on a single self-assembled QD.
Fig. 3: Imaging an ensemble of QDs with the RAP-based protocol.


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The authors acknowledge financial support from Initial Training Network S3NANO, the National Center of Competence in Research QSIT (Quantum Science and Technology) and Swiss National Science Foundation projects 206021_144979 and 200020_156637. S.R.V., A.L. and A.D.W. acknowledge support from BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) Q.com-H 16KIS0109.

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T.K. designed and carried out the experiments under the supervision of A.V.K., T.K. carried out the detailed data analysis, S.R.V., and A.L. and A.D.W. fabricated the device for the experiments (molecular beam epitaxy of the heterostructure; post-growth processing of the diode structure). T.K. and R.J.W. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

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Correspondence to Timo Kaldewey.

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Kaldewey, T., Kuhlmann, A.V., Valentin, S.R. et al. Far-field nanoscopy on a semiconductor quantum dot via a rapid-adiabatic-passage-based switch. Nature Photon 12, 68–72 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-017-0079-y

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