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Vectorized optoelectronic control and metrology in a semiconductor

A Publisher Correction to this article was published on 12 October 2020

This article has been updated


The increasingly prominent role of light in information processing makes optoelectronic devices a technology of fundamental importance. Coherent control of currents in semiconductors using synthesized optical waveforms provides a sensitive and robust means to transfer information from light to an electronic circuit. Currents driven by Gaussian laser beams are spatially uniform in direction, offering limited technological utility. Full control over the transverse spatial distribution of currents excited in a material would vastly increase the versatility and impact of optoelectronic devices. Here we simultaneously control the waveform and vectorial arrangement of optical fields, enabling precise manipulation of the spatial distribution of currents in a semiconductor. As a direct application, we drive loop currents, embodying a new ultrafast magnetic field source. Subsequently, we demonstrate a scheme for generating an arbitrary superposition of two orthogonal current arrangements via subcycle adjustment of the optical waveform.

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Fig. 1: Vectorized coherent control.
Fig. 2: Experimental configuration.
Fig. 3: Measurement of azimuthal currents.
Fig. 4: Measurement of radial currents.
Fig. 5: Two-dimensional control over the local current direction.
Fig. 6: Coherent control of orthogonal current modes.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Change history

  • 12 October 2020

    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.


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This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant Program, the Canada Research Chairs programme, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (‘Topological Excitations in Electronics (TEE)’, agreement number D18AC00011) and the United States Army Research Office (award number W911NF-19-1-0211).

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Authors and Affiliations



P.B.C. conceived the idea and supervised the project. S.S. and F.K. fabricated the detector and performed the experiments. S.S. conceived the measurement technique, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. F.H. fabricated the q plates, supervised by E.K. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shawn Sederberg.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–12 and Notes 1–13 and refs. 1–8.

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Sederberg, S., Kong, F., Hufnagel, F. et al. Vectorized optoelectronic control and metrology in a semiconductor. Nat. Photonics 14, 680–685 (2020).

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