Quantized electronic structure (QUEST)
Gossard, Arthur C. Materials Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, California.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A material that confines electrons in such a small space that their wavelike behavior becomes important and their properties are strongly modified by quantum-mechanical effects. Such structures occur in nature, as in the case of atoms, but can be synthesized artificially with great flexibility of design and applications. They have been fabricated most frequently with layered semiconductor materials. Generally, the confinement regions for electrons in these structures are 1–100 nanometers in size. The allowable energy levels, motion, and optical properties of the electrons are strongly affected by the quantum-mechanical effects. The structures are referred to as quantum wells, wires, and dots, depending on whether electrons are confined with respect to motion in one, two, or three dimensions (Fig. 1). Multiple closely spaced wells between which electrons can move by quantum-mechanical tunneling through intervening thin barrier-material layers are referred to as superlattices. See also: Quantum mechanics
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