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Emanuel Thomas Peinke

All-optical ultrafast switching of semiconductor micropillar cavities: Basics and applications to quantum optics

Published on 5 April 2016


Thesis presented April 05, 2016

Abstract:
The resonance wavelengths of semiconductor optical microcavities can be changed within few picoseconds through the optical injection of free charge carriers. In this PhD thesis, we study in detail such “cavity switching” events for GaAs/AlAs planar and micropillar cavities, using the spontaneous emission of embedded QDs as an internal light source to probe the time-dependent frequencies of the cavity modes. Switching amplitudes as large as 34 mode linewidths are observed for optimized pumping conditions. Differential switching of micropillar modes is achieved by performing a localized injection of charge carriers, and modeled by taking into account their injection profile, diffusion and recombination processes. We investigate two important potential applications of cavity switching in the field of quantum optics. On one hand, we model the frequency conversion of light trapped in a cavity mode, which is induced by a switching event, and show that adiabatic and highly efficient frequency conversion can be achieved in properly designed planar cavities. On the other hand, cavity switching appears as a powerful resource to control in real-time the spontaneous emission of embedded emitters and more generally CQED effects. As a first example, we demonstrate the generation of few picosecond short pulses of incoherent light, using the spontaneous emission of switched QD-micropillars. We also show theoretically that cavity switching can be used to shape the time-envelope of single photon pulses emitted by a single QD, which is highly desirable for quantum-optical links and photonic quantum information processing.

Keywords:
Single photon, Semiconductor quantum dot, Spontaneous emission, Cavity switching, Nanophotonics, Optical microcavity

On-line thesis.