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Linear and nonlinear optical spectroscopy of a strongly coupled microdisk–quantum dot system

Nature volume 450, pages 862865 (06 December 2007) | Download Citation


Cavity quantum electrodynamics1, the study of coherent quantum interactions between the electromagnetic field and matter inside a resonator, has received attention as both a test bed for ideas in quantum mechanics and a building block for applications in the field of quantum information processing2. The canonical experimental system studied in the optical domain is a single alkali atom coupled to a high-finesse Fabry–Perot cavity. Progress made in this system1,2,3,4,5 has recently been complemented by research involving trapped ions6, chip-based microtoroid cavities7, integrated microcavity-atom-chips8, nanocrystalline quantum dots coupled to microsphere cavities9, and semiconductor quantum dots embedded in micropillars, photonic crystals and microdisks10,11,12. The last system has been of particular interest owing to its relative simplicity and scalability. Here we use a fibre taper waveguide to perform direct optical spectroscopy of a system consisting of a quantum dot embedded in a microdisk. In contrast to earlier work with semiconductor systems, which has focused on photoluminescence measurements10,11,12,13,14, we excite the system through the photonic (light) channel rather than the excitonic (matter) channel. Strong coupling, the regime of coherent quantum interactions, is demonstrated through observation of vacuum Rabi splitting in the transmitted and reflected signals from the cavity. The fibre coupling method also allows us to examine the system’s steady-state nonlinear properties, where we see a saturation of the cavity–quantum dot response for less than one intracavity photon. The excitation of the cavity–quantum dot system through a fibre optic waveguide is central to applications such as high-efficiency single photon sources15,16, and to more fundamental studies of the quantum character of the system17.

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We thank S. Krishna and A. Stintz for providing quantum dot material growth. This work was supported by the Charles L. Powell Foundation and the Center for the Physics of Information at Caltech.

Author Contributions Both K.S. and O.P. contributed to all aspects of this work.

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    • Kartik Srinivasan

    Present address: Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.


  1. Center for the Physics of Information,

    • Kartik Srinivasan
  2. Thomas J. Watson Sr Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

    • Oskar Painter


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Correspondence to Oskar Painter.

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