Nonlinear optical processes in semiconductor microcavities and sodium vapor
AuthorWick, David Victor, 1968-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractNonlinear optical phenomena in both semiconductor microcavities and sodium vapor are investigated. Systems displaying atomic and excitonic coupling are studied in detail in order to unravel underlying physical principles. Possible applications for these systems are evaluated where appropriate. Normal-mode coupling (NMC) in a semiconductor microcavity is achieved when a narrow-linewidth quantum well exciton resonance is coincident with the cavity mode of a high-finesse microcavity. This interaction leads to a double-peaked spectrum in either transmission, reflection, or photoluminescence (PL). The high-quality microcavities studied here at liquid-Helium temperatures reveal intensity dependent behavior that has not previously been observed. Nonlinear saturation of the exciton leads to a spectral broadening of the excitonic absorption without a significant loss in oscillator strength. This results in a reduction of the two transmission peaks with almost no change in the splitting between the peaks. Such behavior is easily explained using phenomenological nonlinear dispersion theory. In this nonlinear regime, the luminescence from the microcavity shows a gradual transition from the nonperturbative regime of NMC to lasing with increasing excitation. The observed behavior is explained by density-dependent changes in both the transmission of the microcavity and the bare-exciton emission, rather than a boson-condensation of excitons which has been previously proposed. An intermediate-finesse microcavity also modifies the emission distribution from a bulk-semiconductor at room temperature. Angularly resolved emission spectra and quantum efficiency measurements show the PL is strongly dependent on the reflectivity of the microcavity. Unfortunately, the enhancement in the decay rate of excitons due to high-reflectivity mirrors seen previously by our group does not result in an increased quantum efficiency. High-gain optical-wavefront amplification in atomic sodium vapor is demonstrated via both the three-photon effect and stimulated Raman scattering (SRS). In both cases, single-pass weak-field gain of nearly 400 is achieved with only 800 mW of pump power near 589 nm. In the case of SRS, phase preservation of the amplified wavefront, which is necessary in adaptive imaging applications, is also demonstrated.
Degree ProgramGraduate College