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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Mar 29;110(13):137404. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Observation of forbidden exciton transitions mediated by Coulomb interactions in photoexcited semiconductor quantum wells.

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  • 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.


We use terahertz pulses to induce resonant transitions between the eigenstates of optically generated exciton populations in a high-quality semiconductor quantum well sample. Monitoring the excitonic photoluminescence, we observe transient quenching of the 1s exciton emission, which we attribute to the terahertz-induced 1s-to-2p excitation. Simultaneously, a pronounced enhancement of the 2s exciton emission is observed, despite the 1s-to-2s transition being dipole forbidden. A microscopic many-body theory explains the experimental observations as a Coulomb-scattering mixing of the 2s and 2p states, yielding an effective terahertz transition between the 1s and 2s populations.

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