Article

Nature 443, 409-414 (28 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05131; Received 18 April 2006; Accepted 24 July 2006

Bose–Einstein condensation of exciton polaritons

J. Kasprzak1, M. Richard2, S. Kundermann2, A. Baas2, P. Jeambrun2, J. M. J. Keeling3, F. M. Marchetti4, M. H. Szyman acuteska5, R. André1, J. L. Staehli2, V. Savona2, P. B. Littlewood4, B. Deveaud2 and Le Si Dang1

Phase transitions to quantum condensed phases—such as Bose–Einstein condensation (BEC), superfluidity, and superconductivity—have long fascinated scientists, as they bring pure quantum effects to a macroscopic scale. BEC has, for example, famously been demonstrated in dilute atom gas of rubidium atoms at temperatures below 200 nanokelvin. Much effort has been devoted to finding a solid-state system in which BEC can take place. Promising candidate systems are semiconductor microcavities, in which photons are confined and strongly coupled to electronic excitations, leading to the creation of exciton polaritons. These bosonic quasi-particles are 109 times lighter than rubidium atoms, thus theoretically permitting BEC to occur at standard cryogenic temperatures. Here we detail a comprehensive set of experiments giving compelling evidence for BEC of polaritons. Above a critical density, we observe massive occupation of the ground state developing from a polariton gas at thermal equilibrium at 19 K, an increase of temporal coherence, and the build-up of long-range spatial coherence and linear polarization, all of which indicate the spontaneous onset of a macroscopic quantum phase.

  1. CEA-CNRS-UJF joint group 'Nanophysique et Semiconducteurs', Laboratoire de Spectrométrie Physique (CNRS UMR5588), Université J. Fourier-Grenoble, F-38402 Saint Martin d'Hères cedex, France
  2. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Station 3, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. MIT, Department of Physics, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139-4307, USA
  4. Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
  5. Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK

Correspondence to: J. Kasprzak1B. Deveaud2 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to B.D. (Email: benoit.deveaud-pledran@epfl.ch) and J.K. (Email: jkasprz@spectro.ujf-grenoble.fr).

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