Our experimental group uses a wide array of optical methods to study fundamental questions of quantum mechanics in semiconductor systems. Our optical methods include ultrafast spectroscopy on femtosecond and picosecond time scales, single photon counting and correlation, real-space and momentum space (Fourier) imaging with CCD cameras, and nonlinear optics such as two-photon absorption and the optical Stark effect. We can also apply variable stress to samples to create potential gradients to move particles inside solids, vary temperature down to cryogenic temperatures, and measure transport with electronics.
One of the main efforts in our lab at present is the study of polariton condensates in microcavities. The polaritons are essentially photons dressed with an effective mass and strong interactions due to the special design of the solid-state microcavity structures we use. These interacting photons can undergo Bose-Einstein condensation, which is a state of matter with spontaneous coherence. We can see superfluid flow of the polariton condensate over millimeter distances; we can also trap the condensate in various potentials; and we can see interference due to the coherence of the condensate.
This work connects to several fundamental questions. One topic is how coherence can occur spontaneously ("enphasing") in systems like lasers and condensates and how coherence is lost ("dephasing") in standard quantum systems. This, in turn, relates to the deep question of why there is irreversibility in nature, that is, the arrow of time. Another topic is how phase transitions can occur in nonequilibrium systems. We have developed sophisticated numerical methods to compare the solution of a quantum Boltzmann equation (which gives the temporal evolution of a system in nonequilibrium) to our data on the momentum and energy distributions of gases of various particles.
A new effort in our group is looking at using a polariton condensate to modulate the two-photon absorption in our samples. This may be used for special nonlinear effects in quantum computing schemes. We have also looked at spin flip and other dynamic processes of electrons and holes in quantum dots, dipolar excitons in quantum wells, and various methods of modulating light in semiconductor lasers and microcavities for applied optical communications goals.
- Bose-Einstein condensation of microcavity polaritons in a trap," R Balili, V Hartwell, D Snoke, L Pfeiffer, K West, Science 316, 1007 (2007)
- "Spontaneous Bose coherence of excitons and polaritons," D Snoke, Science 298, 1368 (2002)
- "Long-range transport in excitonic dark states in coupled quantum wells," D. Snoke, S. Denev, Y. Liu, L. Pfeiffer & K. W, Nature, 418, 754 (2002)
- "Polariton lasing vs. photon lasing in a semiconductor microcavity," Deng, H., Weihs, G., Snoke, D., Bloch, J., Yamamoto, Y. Proceedings of the National Acadamy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(26), 15318-15323 (2003)
- "Coherent exciton waves," Snoke, D. Science 273(5280), 1351-1352 (1996)
- "Stress-induced bandgap renormalization in atomic crystals." Sun, Zheng, Jonathan Beaumariage, Hema CP Movva, Sayema Chowdhury, Anupam Roy, Sanjay K. Banerjee, and David W. Snoke. Solid State Communications (2018).
- "Measurement of polariton-polariton interaction strength in the Thomas-Fermi regime of polariton condensation," E. Estrecho, T. Gao, N. Bobrovska, D. Comber-Todd, M. D. Fraser, M. Steger, K. West, L. N. Pfeiffer, J. Levinsen, M. M. Parish, T. C. H. Liew, M. Matuszewski, D. W. Snoke, A. G. Truscott & E. A. Ostrovskaya, arXiv:1809.00757v1
- "Pushing Photons with Electrons: Observation of the Polariton Drag Effect," D. M. Myers, B. Ozden, J. Beaumariage, and D. W. Snoke, arXiv:1808.07866v2 (2018)
- "Single-shot condensation of exciton polaritons and the hole burning effect," E. Estrecho, T. Gao, N. Bobrovska, M.D. Fraser, M. Steger, L. Pfeiffer, K. West, T.C.H. Liew, M. Matuszewski, D.W. Snoke, A.G. Truscott10 & E.A. Ostrovskaya, Nature Communication 9, 05349 (2018)
- "Effect of quantum confinement on the blueshift of optically-trapped exciton polaritons below the condensation threshold," Maciej Pieczarka, Maryam Boozarjmehr, Eliezer Estrecho, Mark Steger, Kenneth West, Loren N. Pfeiffer, David W. Snoke, Andrew G. Truscott and Elena A. Ostrovskaya, arXiv:1808.00749v2