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Quantum Well Intersubband Transitions: Nonlinear Optics, Refractive Index and Infrared Modulation


Almogy, Gilad (1995) Quantum Well Intersubband Transitions: Nonlinear Optics, Refractive Index and Infrared Modulation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/3qj9-9777.


The nonperturbative theory for the nonlinear optical interaction of quantum well intersubband transitions is developed. The nonlinear optical response of intersubband transitions in quantum wells is rigorously derived and the implications of their resonantly-enhanced nature are examined. Limitations on the use of the standard expansion of the induced polarization in terms of perturbative nonlinear coefficients are presented and it is shown that an alternative nonperturbative formalism is necessary for analyzing intersubband device applications. Upper limits are derived on the magnitudes of several key intersubband transition-induced nonlinear processes. It is shown that for both electrooptic and all-optic modulation, resonantly-enhanced absorption modulation is inherently preferable to phase modulation. A limit on the second-harmonic intensity that may be generated in a given propagation length and modified design criteria for optimizing second-harmonic generation in quantum wells are also obtained from the nonperturbative formalism.

The large and highly dispersive refractive index contribution of intersubband transitions was observed for the first time through the birefringence induced in a GaAs/AlGaAs multi-quantum well stack. It is shown that this index, rather than the absorption induced by intersubband transitions, may become the dominant limitation on frequency conversion efficiencies. Potential applications of this controllable refractive index for a novel phase-matching technique of second-harmonic generation and for improved waveguiding in semiconductors is suggested and analyzed.

Removal of charge integration limitations upon the performance of thermal imagers through the 'ac'-coupling of infrared focal-plane arrays is suggested. This is achieved by the monolithic integration of an intersubband infrared absorption modulator and detector leading to a modulation depth of 45% at a wavelength of 10.6µm. The uniquely accurate design of the coupled quantum well infrared modulator was based on a self-consistent computer model of the Schrodinger and Poisson equations in quantum wells, taking into account many body effects, band nonparabolicity and flat band boundary conditions. Monolithic integration of the modulator and detector also turns out to be a simple and accurate method of studying the optical properties of quantum wells under bias. This technique led to the first observation of the exchange-interaction's contribution to the charge transfer between coupled quantum wells.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Yariv, Amnon
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:15 May 1995
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-09192007-110145
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3642
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:17 Oct 2007
Last Modified:23 Apr 2021 19:29

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