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Nat Commun. 2014;5:3268. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4268.

Nuclear magnetization in gallium arsenide quantum dots at zero magnetic field.

Author information

  • 1Université de Toulouse, INSA-CNRS-UPS, LPCNO, 135 Avenue Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse, France.
  • 2National Institute for Material Science, Namiki 1-1, Tsukuba 305-0044, Japan.
  • 3LPMC, Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS, 91128 Palaiseau, France.
  • 4CNRS Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures, Route de Nozay, 91460 Marcoussis, France.


Optical and electrical control of the nuclear spin system allows enhancing the sensitivity of NMR applications and spin-based information storage and processing. Dynamic nuclear polarization in semiconductors is commonly achieved in the presence of a stabilizing external magnetic field. Here we report efficient optical pumping of nuclear spins at zero magnetic field in strain-free GaAs quantum dots. The strong interaction of a single, optically injected electron spin with the nuclear spins acts as a stabilizing, effective magnetic field (Knight field) on the nuclei. We optically tune the Knight field amplitude and direction. In combination with a small transverse magnetic field, we are able to control the longitudinal and transverse components of the nuclear spin polarization in the absence of lattice strain--that is, in dots with strongly reduced static nuclear quadrupole effects, as reproduced by our model calculations.

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