The pioneering and continued efforts of Yasuhiko Arakawa, Pallab Bhattacharya, and Dieter Bimberg enabled the scientific and technological marvel known as the quantum dot (QD) laser, which is replacing semiconductor lasers in a growing range of areas including optical communications, medical and industrial applications, and silicon photonics. Their contributions provide the basis for the development of advanced systems for data- and telecommunications and quantum cryptography. The successful operation of the QD laser depended on the realization of nanostructured atom-like quantum dots in the gain region, but the technology for this did not exist. Arakawa, Bhattacharya, and Bimberg’s groups solved this problem by creating a laser that has vastly superior characteristics compared to traditional semiconductor lasers, including those on silicon substrates by the first two. In 1982, Arakawa proposed the concept of the QD laser and theoretically showed temperature insensitivity of threshold current in the device. He experimentally demonstrated the reduced temperature dependence of threshold current using high magnetic fields and also forecasted theoretically enhanced modulation dynamics and reduced spectral linewidth. He then worked on developing high-performance QD lasers, demonstrating temperature-insensitive QD lasers, and contributed to their first commercialization. Bhattacharya turned his attention to QD lasers in the 1980s when his group accidently observed the formation of self-organized QDs in the strained channel region of high-speed modulation doped transistors. His group was one of the first to report a room-temperature QD laser, and he also demonstrated the laser’s temperature-invariant operation, near-zero chirp, and high-speed modulation, as well as the first III-nitride-based QD lasers and LEDs with emission in the entire R-B-G wavelength range for displays. Bimberg demonstrated the first low- and room-temperature injection lasers based on self-organized quantum dots. He pioneered the general effective mass, 8-band k.p and many particle theories of quantum dots presenting the basis to understand the electronic, optical, and transport properties of QDs and QD devices. His fundamental discovery of the relevance of strain for self-organized growth, established novel growth technologies for devices with properties superior to those of quantum-well structures.
An IEEE Life Fellow, member of the German and Russian Academies of Sciences, and foreign member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and Inventors, Bimberg is executive director of the “Bimberg Chinese-German Center for Green Photonics” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at CIOMP, Changchun, China.