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Pure Appl. Chem., 2000, Vol. 72, No. 1-2, pp. 295-307

Colloidal nanocrystals for telecommunications. Complete coverage of the low-loss fiber windows by mercury telluride quantum dot

M. T. Harrison*, S. V. Kershaw, M. G. Burt, A. L. Rogach, A. Kornowski, A. Eychmüller and H. Weller

Advanced Telecommunications Research, BT Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, IP5 3RE, UK

Abstract: Optical fibers have revolutionized the telecommunications industry to such an extent that the network capacity available today was unthinkable 20 years ago. Even so, with the advent of the datawave, and the exponential increase of network traffic predicted to continue indefinitely, the generation of bandwidth remains a challenge. One of the major limitations to the implementation of future high-capacity, ultra-broadband optical networks is the expansion of the fiber bandwidth beyond that available from the current state-of-the-art signal amplification device--the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA). Although there is currently a large effort to expand the flat-gain bandwidth of the EDFA, most of these efforts involve sophisticated engineering, exotic glass fibers, or multicomponent cascaded systems. In a radically different approach, we are attempting to use the unique properties of semiconductor nanocrystals, or quantum dots, as "designer atoms" in order to produce an ultra-broadband optical amplifier with complete coverage of the telecommunications wavelengths. In this paper we review the synthesis of thiol-stabilized mercury chalcogenide nanocrystals via an aqueous colloidal route, which demonstrate extremely intense photoluminescence all the way across the spectral region of interest, i.e., from 1000 to over 1700 nm.