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Tobias Sattler

Ultrafast switching of semiconductor microcavities for quantum optics applications

Published on 28 November 2017
Thesis presented November 28, 2017

The all-optical injection of free charge carriers into a semiconductor material can change the resonance frequency of an optical microcavity within few picoseconds and allows an ultrafast modification of light-matter interaction. In this PhD thesis, we study the switching of different types of cavities based on GaAs/AlAs materials and explore possible applications. When the resonance wavelength of a cavity is shifted on a timescale shorter than its storage time, the frequency of the stored light is up-converted. In this work, we study this effect experimentally for high Q planar microcavities, able to store light during several tens of picoseconds. Upon ultrafast switching, we observe a large frequency shift (around 17 mode linewidths) of stored light. In agreement with numerical simulations, we evidence an adiabatic behavior and an efficiency close to 100% for this conversion process. When embedded in a cavity, quantum dots can serve as an internal light source for probing cavity modes and their switching dynamics. We use this approach to study two different kinds of microcavities. On one hand, we inject an inhomogeneous distribution of free charge carriers into micropillars, whose interest for quantum optics experiments is well recognized. We observe drastically different switching behaviors for their cavity modes, due to the different overlaps between free carriers and field intensity distributions. This behavior is understood in a quantitative way on the basis of simulations taking into account the diffusion and recombination of electron-hole pairs. On the other hand, we explore the properties of a novel type of microcavity, ovoid ring resonators. We present a characterization of their optical properties, as well as switching experiments. These objects offer appealing perspectives for the fabrication of microlasers, and for quantum optics experiments such as controlling the Purcell effect in real time.

Optics, Laser optics, Applied optics

On-line thesis.