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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Dec 5;91(23):237401. Epub 2003 Dec 1.

Interband impact ionization and nonlinear absorption of terahertz radiation in semiconductor heterostructures.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Functional Materials for Informatics, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 865 Changning Road, Shanghai 200050, People's Republic of China.


We have theoretically investigated nonlinear free-carrier absorption of terahertz (THz) radiation in InAs/AlSb heterojunctions. By considering multiple photon process and conduction-valence interband impact ionization (II), we have determined the field and frequency dependent absorption rate. It is shown that (i). electron-disorder scatterings are important at low to intermediate field, and (ii). most importantly, the high field absorption is dominated by II processes. Our theory can satisfactorily explain a long-standing experimental result on the nonlinear absorption in the THz regime.

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