Suppressed Auger scattering and tunable light emission of Landau-quantized massless Kane electrons


The Landau level laser was proposed long ago as a unique source of monochromatic radiation that would be widely tunable in the THz and infrared spectral ranges using a magnetic field. However, despite many efforts, this appealing concept never progressed to the design of a reliable device. This is because of the efficient Auger scattering of Landau-quantized electrons, an intrinsic non-radiative recombination channel that eventually gains over cyclotron emission in all materials studied so far (conventional semiconductors with parabolic bands, but also in graphene with massless electrons). Auger processes are favoured in these systems because the Landau levels (or their subsets) are equally spaced in energy. Here, we show that this scheme does not apply to massless Kane electrons in gapless HgCdTe, where undesirable Auger scattering is strongly suppressed and sizeable cyclotron emission is observed. The gapless HgCdTe thus appears as a material of choice for future Landau level lasers.

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Fig. 1: LL ladders and possible paths for Auger scattering of massive and massless electrons.
Fig. 2: Pump–probe experiments and Auger scattering of Landau-quantized massless Kane electrons.
Fig. 3: Pump–probe experiments using a circularly polarized probe beam.
Fig. 4: Cyclotron emission and absorption of 3D massless Kane electrons.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Code availability

The code for modelling of cyclotron mode energies is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We acknowledge discussions with D. M. Basko and R. J. Nicholas. This work was supported by the ANR DIRAC3D project. The research was also partially supported by the CNRS through the LIA TeraMIR project, by the Occitanie region and MIPS Department of Montpellier University via the Terahertz Occitanie platform, and by the Foundation for Polish Science through the TEAM and IRA Programs financed by the EU within the SG OP Program. Part of this work has been supported by the project CALIPSO under the EC contract no. 312284. We are grateful to P. Michel and the FELBE team for their dedicated support.

Author information




The experiment was proposed by M.O. and M.P. The sample was grown by N.N.M. and S.A.D. Time-resolved and continuous-wave magneto-optical experiments were carried out by M.O., M.M., S.W., C.F. and M.H. The cyclotron emission experiments were performed by D.B.B., C.C., F.T. and W.K. All co-authors discussed the experimental data and interpretation of the results. M.O. and M.P. wrote the manuscript and all co-authors commented on it.

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Correspondence to M. Orlita.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary discussion, Figs. 1–3 and refs. 1–8.

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But, D.B., Mittendorff, M., Consejo, C. et al. Suppressed Auger scattering and tunable light emission of Landau-quantized massless Kane electrons. Nat. Photonics 13, 783–787 (2019).

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