The need for environmental sensing, fast trace gas detection, control of hazardous material, pollution control is of critical importance to the modern industrial society. Our quality of life, safety and environmental legacy are all directly affected by the environment we live in and leave behind. The optical absorption lines of many important chemical compounds (drugs, explosives and hazardous chemicals) fall into the infrared spectral region (2-20µm). To solve this real world, macro-scale problem, namely the shortage of photonic devices for this infrared wavelength range, we utilize nanostructures, with the aim to make significant advances in the understanding and development of future devices.


The realization of semiconductor nanostructures offers fascinating perspectives both for fundamental science and for the development of new electronic and photonic devices. Since semiconductor quantum dots resemble “artificial” atoms, their apparent quantum nature can be combined with advantages of the “classical” semiconductor world. In this way these ensembles of semiconductor atoms can be contacted with wires, integrated in circuits and built with high integration. The confinement to the nanometer scale leads to quantized energy levels with energy differences corresponding to the infrared spectral region. Nanostructuring of semiconductors adds new functionality – infrared optical activity. The goal of the joint effort IR-ON is to investigate, understand, and make use of this infrared optical activity.


Drawing on the expertise and infrastructure available at the participating institutions, this SFB is focused on five main interdisciplinary research areas: (1) Nanofabrication of novel infrared materials by successful combination of self-organization processes with nanolithography. This allows the realization of engineered nanostructures as basis for the overall goal of this SFB. (2) New types of analysis methods with high spatial resolution will be employed to get structural as well as optical and electronic information of the nanostructures. This is not only an important feedback for the growth and fabrication processes but also a crucial input for the theoretical efforts as well for design of the novel device structures. (3) Infrared and THz spectroscopy reveals the electronic structure as well as time-resolved dynamic optical processes in the nanostructures which is important for the design and prediction of the device performance. (4) Development and implementation of theoretical models for ab-initio description of nanostructure growth dynamics, as well as for prediction of electronic levels and optical effects down to level of device simulations. (5) Finally, novel efficient infrared nanostructure devices based are realized, including cw-infrared lasers, single photon sources and detectors as well as novel photonic band gap structures.



Project 01




  K. Unterrainer (Vienna),

  G. Springholz (Linz)


Project 02


  SiGe nanostructures


  F. Schäffler (Linz)



Project 03


  III-V based IR nanodevices


  G. Strasser (Vienna),

  A. Lugstein (Vienna)


Project 04


  Epitaxial lead salt nanostructures


  G. Springholz (Linz)



Project 05


  Nanocrystals for mid IR photonics


  W. Heiss (Linz)



Project 06


  Ab initio description of semiconductor nanocrystals


  G. Kresse (Vienna),

  F. Bechstedt (Jena)


Project 07


  Next generation x-ray techniques


  J. Stangl (Linz),

  G. Bauer (Linz)


Project 08


  Electronic transport in nanostructures (phase I-II only)


  J. Smoliner (Vienna),

  E. Gornik (Vienna)


Project 09


  CAD of optical semiconductor nanodevices (phase I-II)*


  H. Kosina (Vienna)



Project 11


  IR and THz response of nanostructures


  K. Unterrainer (Vienna)



Project 12


  IR detection and emission by nanostructures


  T. Fromherz (Linz)



Project 13


  Mesoscopic theory of quantum devices (phase I-II)*


  P. Vogl (Munich)



Project 14



  Theory and modelling of IR devices (new in phase III)*



  S. Rotter (Vienna),

  H. Kosina (Vienna),

  P. Vogl (Munich)


 * P09 and P13 were merged for the third funding period

 and continue within the new project part P14.