Research in our group focuses on the use of coherent optical interactions to study, control, and manipulate the quantum properties of semiconductor heterostructures. Recent research has provided for the coherent spectroscopy study of single quantum dots showing that these structures behave like artificial atoms. The strong three dimensional confinement leads to reduced interactions with the surrounding environment and hence reduced decoherence of the quantum phase of the system. Using these results we have demonstrated our ability to optically prepare the wave function of the system. Measurements, based on using phase locked short optical pulses to produce quantum interferograms of the luminescence, show our ability to modulate the population and orientation on a time scale short compared to the coherence time of the electronic excitation. Our work is moving toward examining these structures as quantum devices for application to quantum computing.