Low dimensional structures (LDS) form a major new branch of physics research. These semiconductor structures have such a small scale in one- or two-dimensions that their electronic properties are significantly different from the same material in bulk form. These properties are changed by quantum effects. There is increasing interest in the preparation, study, and application of LDS. Their investigation has revitalized condensed matter science, in particular semiconductor materials. Complex LDS offer device engineers new design opportunities for tailor-made new generation electronic and photonic devices. New crystal growth techniques such as molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) have made it possible to produce LDS in practice.These sophisticated technologies for the growth of high quality epitaxial layers of compound semiconductor materials on single crystal semiconductor substrates are becoming increasingly important for the development of the semiconductor electronics industry. This article is intended to convey the flavor of the subject by focusing on the technology and applications of self-assembled quantum dots (QDs) and to give an introduction to some of the essential characteristics.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)00639-9