Properties of Quantum Dots and Their Biological Applications

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Confined electrons are found everywhere in nature in the form of atoms in which the Coulomb attraction of the nucleus confines the orbiting electrons. Nanotechnology has provided us an alternative way to confine electrons by means of an artificial confining potential. Quantum dots are typical examples that represent nanoscale systems made of a few confined electrons. There are many types of quantum dots, ranging from self-assembled to lithographically engineered semiconductor quantum dots. In this work we mostly describe electrostatically confined semiconductor quantum dots where the electrostatic confining potential is generated by external electrodes, doping, strain, or other factors. The main focus of this contribution is on low-dimensional nanodot systems from the perspective of their unique electronic and/or magnetic properties at the nanoscale range. Nanoscale quantum dot systems have gained tremendous attention during the last decades due to their unique electro-optical properties. They have had a significant impact on research in many fields across the physical, chemical, and biological sciences. Some of their properties make them particularly attractive for biological applications. Therefore, in this contribution, we also provide a brief overview of a few concepts and approaches that are needed to understand their unique electro-optical properties and explain possible biological applications.

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