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The laterally confining potential of quantum dots (QDs) fabricated in semiconductor heterostructures is approximated by an elliptical two-dimensional harmonic-oscillator well or a bowl-like circular well. The energy spectrum of two interacting electrons in these potentials is calculated in the effective-mass approximation as a function of dot size and characteristic frequency of the confining potential by the exact diagonalization method. Energy level crossover is displayed according to the ratio of the characteristic frequencies of the elliptical confinement potential along the y axis and that along the x axis. Investigating the rovibrational spectrum with pair-correlation function and conditional probability distribution, we could see the violation of circular symmetry. However, there are still some symmetries left in the elliptical QDs. When the QDs are confined by a “bowl-like” potential, the removal of the degeneracy in the energy levels of QDs is found. The distribution of energy levels is different for the different heights of the barriers. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.