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Observation of two-photon emission from semiconductors

Abstract

Two-photon emission is a process in which electron transition between quantum levels occurs through the simultaneous emission of two photons. This phenomenon is important for astrophysics and atomic physics1,2, and semiconductor two-photon emission was recently proposed as a compact source of entangled photons, essential for practical quantum information processing3,4,5, and three orders of magnitude more efficient6 than the existing down-conversion schemes. Two-photon absorption in semiconductors has been extensively investigated7,8,9,10,11; however, spontaneous semiconductor two-photon emission has not been observed, nor has it been fully analysed theoretically so far. We report the first experimental observations of two-photon emission from semiconductors and develop a corresponding theory. Spontaneous two-photon emission is demonstrated in optically pumped bulk GaAs and in electrically driven GaInP/AlGaInP quantum wells. Singly stimulated two-photon emission measurements demonstrate the theoretically predicted two-photon optical gain in semiconductors12,13,14,15—a necessary ingredient for any realizations of future two-photon semiconductor lasers. A photon-coincidence experiment is presented to validate the simultaneity of the electrically driven GaInP/AlGaInP two-photon emission, limited only by the detector's temporal resolution.

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Figure 1: Bulk GaAs TPE measurements and calculations with optical pumping by a 514-nm Ar laser.
Figure 2: Experimental false-colour IR emission imaging of the facet of the GaInP/AlGaInP QWs waveguide.
Figure 3: Measured and calculated IR emission spectrum from GaInP/AlGaInP QWs at 200 mA injection current.
Figure 4: Calculated and measured photon coincidences in electrically pumped GaInP/AlGaInP QWs TPE versus relative delay between detectors.

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Correspondence to Alex Hayat.

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Hayat, A., Ginzburg, P. & Orenstein, M. Observation of two-photon emission from semiconductors. Nature Photon 2, 238–241 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2008.28

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