Ultrafast terahertz probes of transient conducting and insulating phases in an electron-hole gas

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Many-body systems in nature exhibit complexity and self-organization arising from seemingly simple laws. The long-range Coulomb interaction between electrical charges generates a plethora of bound states in matter, ranging from the hydrogen atom to complex biochemical structures. Semiconductors form an ideal laboratory for studying many-body interactions of quasi-particles among themselves and with lattice vibrations and light. Oppositely charged electron and hole quasi-particles can coexist in an ionized but correlated plasma, or form bound hydrogen-like pairs called excitons which strongly affect physical properties. The pathways between such states however remain elusive in near-visible optical experiments that detect a subset of excitons ... continued below

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Kaindl, Robert A.; Carnahan, Marc A.; Hagele, Daniel; Lovenich, Reinhold & Chemla, Daniel S. April 10, 2003.

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Many-body systems in nature exhibit complexity and self-organization arising from seemingly simple laws. The long-range Coulomb interaction between electrical charges generates a plethora of bound states in matter, ranging from the hydrogen atom to complex biochemical structures. Semiconductors form an ideal laboratory for studying many-body interactions of quasi-particles among themselves and with lattice vibrations and light. Oppositely charged electron and hole quasi-particles can coexist in an ionized but correlated plasma, or form bound hydrogen-like pairs called excitons which strongly affect physical properties. The pathways between such states however remain elusive in near-visible optical experiments that detect a subset of excitons with vanishing center-of-mass momenta. In contrast, transitions between internal exciton levels which occur in the far-infrared at terahertz (10<sup 12> s<sup -1>) frequencies are in dependent of this restriction suggesting their use as a novel pro be of pair dynamics. Here, we employ an ultrafast terahertz probe to directly investigate the dynamical interplay of optically-generated excitons and unbound electron-hole pairs in GaAs quantum wells. Our observations witness an unexpected quasi-instantaneous excitonic enhancement, reveal formation of insulating excitons on a hundred picosecond timescale and manifest conditions under which excitonic populations prevail.

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  • Journal Name: Nature; Journal Volume: 423; Journal Issue: 6941; Other Information: Journal Publication Date: 12 June 2003

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  • Report No.: LBNL--53777
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature01676 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 816229
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc736406

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  • April 10, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 2:41 p.m.

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Kaindl, Robert A.; Carnahan, Marc A.; Hagele, Daniel; Lovenich, Reinhold & Chemla, Daniel S. Ultrafast terahertz probes of transient conducting and insulating phases in an electron-hole gas, article, April 10, 2003; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc736406/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.