Many-body effects in low-order optical nonlinearities of semiconductor quantum wells
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation addresses both fundamental aspects of Coulomb correlations in semiconductor quantum wells and more practical aspects of theoretical analysis of semiconductor optoelectronic devices. After introducing the subject, we present and evaluate a state-of-the-art theory of the third order coherent optical response of a semiconductor quantum well based on the Dynamics Controlled Truncation (DCT) scheme. Already in the third order (the so-called chi (3)) regime, semiconductors exhibit a number of many-body Coulomb correlation effects. Their manifestation in various multi-pulse experimental configurations, customarily used in ultrafast semiconductor spectroscopy, has been an important component of this thesis. Coherent optical effects in a semiconductor 3-band system based on the heavy-hole, light-hole and conduction bands were investigated. The quantum beats in the time-integrated differential transmission signal were analyzed and compared with experimental data obtained at the University of Iowa. Fundamental differences from corresponding quantum beats in atomic 3-level systems were found. Also, the analysis of experimental data (obtained at the University of Arizona) of the coupled heavy-hole-light-hole optical Stark shift revealed evidence of intervalence band coherences, an analog of Raman coherences in atomic 3-levels systems. A scheme for realization of electromagnetically-induced transparency (EIT) based on the interference of excitonic and biexcitonic coherences was proposed. Corresponding experiments performed at the University of Oregon showed indeed a considerable coherent reduction of excitonic absorption. Furthermore, an extension of the chi(3) analysis revealed an energy renormalization of the biexciton, in good agreement with the corresponding experiment. A microscopic analysis of polarization dynamics in time-resolved four-wave mixing signals was performed, revealing interesting implications for the biexciton dephasing in addition to the significance of many-body correlations. In the case of four-wave mixing in semiconductor microcavities, our theoretical analysis in conjunction with experimental data obtained at the University of Tokyo gave us indications for a significant shortcoming of the second Born approximation (2nd BA) applied to two-exciton Coulomb correlations in a thin semiconductor quantum well, in agreement with the general knowledge of the qualitative failure of the 2nd BA in systems with short-range interaction in two dimensions. We also analyzed a novel all-optical switching technique based on the nonlinear polarization rotation. Apart from identifying the many-particle processes relevant for the switch operation in the chi(3) regime, we proposed ways to further optimize the switch.
Degree ProgramGraduate College