OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 20, Iss. 21 — Oct. 8, 2012
  • pp: 23053–23060

THz-driven nonlinear intersubband dynamics in quantum wells

D. Dietze, J. Darmo, and K. Unterrainer  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 21, pp. 23053-23060 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1065 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



In this work, we demonstrate the direct observation of non-equilibrium intersubband dynamics in a modulation-doped multiple quantum well sample induced by intense terahertz pulses. The transmission spectra show a clear dependence on the incident THz field strength, which gives rise to a multitude of nonlinear optical effects that go beyond the standard textbook two-level description of light-matter interaction. Of special interest is thereby the multiple octave spanning bandwidth of the used single-cycle THz pulses, which allows the phase-locked coupling of adjacent intersubband transitions. Examples of this interaction include the efficient, coherent population transfer, the THz induced undressing of collective excitations, and the THz Stark effect.

© 2012 OSA

OCIS Codes
(190.5970) Nonlinear optics : Semiconductor nonlinear optics including MQW
(320.7110) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast nonlinear optics
(300.6495) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, teraherz

ToC Category:
Ultrafast Optics

Original Manuscript: July 20, 2012
Revised Manuscript: August 20, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: August 20, 2012
Published: September 24, 2012

D. Dietze, J. Darmo, and K. Unterrainer, "THz-driven nonlinear intersubband dynamics in quantum wells," Opt. Express 20, 23053-23060 (2012)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. I. I. Rabi, “Space quantization in a gyrating magnetic field,” Phys. Rev.51, 652–654 (1937). [CrossRef]
  2. W. Tittel, M. Afzelius, T. Chanelière, R. L. Cone, S. Kröll, S. A. Moiseev, and M. Sellars, “Photon-echo quantum memory in solid state systems,” Laser & Photon. Rev.4, 244–267 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. H. C. Liu and F c (Eds.), Intersubband Transitions in Quantum Wells: Physics and Device Applications I, vol. 62 of Semiconductors and Semimetals (Academic Press, 2000).
  4. P. U. Jepsen, D. G. Cooke, and M. Koch, “Terahertz spectroscopy and imaging - modern techniques and applications,” Laser & Photon. Rev.5, 124–166 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. J. N. Heyman, R. Kersting, and K. Unterrainer, “Time-domain measurement of intersubband oscillations in a quantum well,” Appl. Phys. Lett.72, 644–646 (1998). [CrossRef]
  6. J. Kröll, J. Darmo, S. Dhillon, X. Marcadet, M. Calligaro, C. Sirtori, and K. Unterrainer, “Phase-resolved measurements of stimulated emission in a laser,” Nature449, 698–701 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. M. S. Sherwin, K. Craig, B. Galdrikian, J. Heyman, A. Markelz, K. Campman, S. Fafard, P. F. Hopkins, and A. Gossard, “Nonlinear quantum dynamics in semiconductor quantum wells,” Physica D83, 229–242 (1995). [CrossRef]
  8. K. Craig, B. Galdrikian, J. N. Heyman, A. G. Markelz, J. B. Williams, M. S. Sherwin, K. Campman, P. F. Hopkins, and A. C. Gossard, “Undressing a collective intersubband excitation in a quantum well,” Phys. Rev. Lett.76, 2382–2385 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. S. G. Carter, V. Birkedal, C. S. Wang, L. A. Coldren, A. V. Maslov, D. S. Citrin, and M. S. Sherwin, “Quantum coherence in an optical modulator,” Science310, 651–653 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J. R. Danielson, Y.-S. Lee, J. P. Prineas, J. T. Steiner, M. Kira, and S. W. Koch, “Interaction of strong single-cycle terahertz pulses with semiconductor quantum wells,” Phys. Rev. Lett.99, 237401 (2007). [CrossRef]
  11. M. Wagner, H. Schneider, D. Stehr, S. Winnerl, A. M. Andrews, S. Schartner, G. Strasser, and M. Helm, “Observation of the intraexcitonic Autler-Townes effect in GaAs/AlGaAs semiconductor quantum wells,” Phys. Rev. Lett.105, 167401 (2010). [CrossRef]
  12. B. Zaks, D. Stehr, T.-A. Truong, P. M. Petroff, S. Hughes, and M. S. Sherwin, “THz-driven quantum wells: Coulomb interactions and Stark shifts in the ultrastrong coupling regime,” New J. Phys.13, 083009 (2011). [CrossRef]
  13. R. Kersting, R. Bratschitsch, G. Strasser, K. Unterrainer, and J. N. Heyman, “Sampling a terahertz dipole transition with subcycle time resolution,” Opt. Lett.25, 272–274 (2000). [CrossRef]
  14. M. Wagner, M. Helm, M. S. Sherwin, and D. Stehr, “Coherent control of THz intersubband polarization in a voltage controlled single quantum well,” Appl. Phys. Lett.99, 131109 (2011). [CrossRef]
  15. G. B. Serapiglia, E. Paspalakis, C. Sirtori, K. L. Vodopyanov, and C. C. Phillips, “Laser-induced quantum coherence in a semiconductor quantum well,” Phys. Rev. Lett.84, 1019–1022 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. C. W. Luo, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, R. Hey, and K. H. Ploog, “Phase-resolved nonlinear response of a two-dimensional electron gas under femtosecond intersubband excitation,” Phys. Rev. Lett.92, 047402 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. J. F. Dynes, M. D. Frogley, M. Beck, J. Faist, and C. C. Phillips, “A Stark splitting and quantum interference with intersubband transitions in quantum wells,” Phys. Rev. Lett.94, 157403 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. G. Günter, A. A. Anappara, J. Hees, A. Sell, G. Biasiol, L. Sorba, S. D. Liberato, C. Ciuti, A. Tredicucci, A. Leitenstorfer, and R. Huber, “Sub-cycle switch-on of ultrastrong light-matter interaction,” Nature458, 178–181 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. C. Ciuti, G. Bastard, and I. Carusotto, “Quantum vacuum properties of the intersubband cavity polariton field,” Phys. Rev. B72, 115303 (2005). [CrossRef]
  20. A. Sell, A. Leitenstorfer, and R. Huber, “Phase-locked generation and field-resolved detection of widely tunable terahertz pulses with amplitudes exceeding 100MV/cm,” Opt. Lett.33, 2767–2769 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. D. Dietze, K. Unterrainer, and J. Darmo, “Dynamically phase-matched terahertz generation,” Opt. Lett.37, 1047–1049 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. H. Schmidt, D. E. Nikonov, K. L. Campman, K. D. Maranowski, A. C. Gossard, and A. Imamoğlu, “Quantum interference in semiconductor quantum wells,” Laser Phys.9, 797–812 (1999).
  23. H. Harde, S. Keiding, and D. Grischkowsky, “THz commensurate echoes: Periodic rephasing of molecular transitions in free-induction decay,” Phys. Rev. Lett.66, 1834–1837 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. D. Golde, M. Wagner, D. Stehr, H. Schneider, M. Helm, A. M. Andrews, T. Roch, G. Strasser, M. Kira, and S. W. Koch, “Fano signatures in the intersubband terahertz response of optically excited semiconductor quantum wells,” Phys. Rev. Lett.102, 127403 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. D. Dietze, “Nonlinear terahertz spectroscopy of semiconductor heterostructures,” Ph.D. thesis, Vienna University of Technology (2012).
  26. M. Helm, The Basic Physics of Intersubband Transitions, vol. 62 of Semiconductors and Semimetals (Academic Press, 2000).
  27. M. Zalużny, “Influence of the depolarization effect on the nonlinear intersubband absorption spectra of quantum wells,” Phys. Rev. B47, 3995–3998 (1993). [CrossRef]
  28. M. Matsuura and T. Kamizato, “Subbands and excitons in a quantum well in an electric field,” Phys. Rev. B33, 8385–8389 (1986). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited