Theory of excitonic optical properties of semiconductor quantum wells and Bragg structures
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation addresses both fundamental aspects of the coherent exciton kinetics in single semiconductor quantum wells and more application-oriented aspects of the collective excitonic optical properties in quantum well Bragg structures. We use a bosonic theory to investigate the ultrafast coherent exciton dynamics after an optical excitation in a single semiconductor quantum well. It is shown that, on intermediate time scales, nonlinear mean-field interactions between excitons lead to a coherent, wave-like evolution in the momentum distribution of optically inactive excitons, which can survive for some time before dephasing sets in. Driven by two-exciton correlations, this coherent quantum kinetic effect bridges the well-known kinetics associated with optical excitation on the one hand and incoherent relaxation on the other. We also study more general dynamical properties of bosonic mean field systems with N-species of excitons (in a single semiconductor quantum well). We find that the momentum-conserving exciton mean field equations, including the coupling to external fields and fermionic corrections, have the dynamical structure su(N,N). We show that one can define a non-real generalized "Bloch vector" and a non-hermitian "density matrix" description, which allow us to explicitly obtain all the constants of motion associated with the su(N,N) symmetry. The many-body effects and correlations of excitons in a single quantum well are mainly induced by the Coulomb interactions. In the case of a semiconductor quantum well Bragg structure, the light induced coupling between different quantum wells also dramatically affects the excitons' behavior, especially through the collective excitations of excitons in the whole structure. We investigate the linear excitonic optical properties of the quantum well Bragg structure induced by the collective excitations using the transfer matrix approach. We show that the so called "intermediate band" (IB) created by the exciton resonance, which does not exist in conventional photonic crystals, can be used for the stopping, storing and releasing of light, which is important in information processing devices. We also discuss the compensation of the dispersive distortion in the light delay process through reversing the IB band structure. Other conceptual and practical issues such as the decay rate of the IB modes and the generalized anti-reflection coating are also investigated.
Degree ProgramGraduate College