In a self-consistent field formalism we investigated the weak-probe optical intersubband response of a three-subband semiconductor quantum well pumped by a strong coherent laser beam. We showed that, when the pumping photon energy is somewhat above the energy separation between the two lowest subbands, a combination of hole-burning effects and coherent pump–probe wave interactions can lead to both optical gain without population inversion and an Autler–Townes-like doublet in the probe optical spectrum. These two absorption peaks, whose positions are blueshifted as the pump intensity is increased, are due to the two-photon absorption process and light-induced intersubband transitions between the two upper states. It is also demonstrated that, in a stepwise two-photon pumping scheme, the optical gain with population inversion can also occur in the quantum-well system when a modestly strong pump field is present.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(230.5590) Optical devices : Quantum-well, -wire and -dot devices
(250.5980) Optoelectronics : Semiconductor optical amplifiers
(270.4180) Quantum optics : Multiphoton processes
(270.6620) Quantum optics : Strong-field processes
Ansheng Liu, "Self-consistent theory of optical gain with and without inversion in semiconductor quantum wells," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 15, 1741-1748 (1998)