Formation and all-optical control of optical patterns in semiconductor microcavities

R. Binder, C. Y. Tsang, Y. C. Tse, M. H. Luk, N. H. Kwong, Chris K.P. Chan, P. T. Leung, P. Lewandowski, Stefan Schumacher, O. Lafont, E. Baudin, J. Tignon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Semiconductor microcavities offer a unique way to combine transient all-optical manipulation of GaAs quantum wells with the benefits of structural advantages of microcavities. In these systems, exciton-polaritons have dispersion relations with very small effective masses. This has enabled prominent effects, for example polaritonic Bose condensation, but it can also be exploited for the design of all-optical communication devices. The latter involves non-equilibrium phase transitions in the spatial arrangement of exciton-polaritons. We consider the case of optical pumping with normal incidence, yielding a spatially homogeneous distribution of exciton-polaritons in optical cavities containing the quantum wells. Exciton-exciton interactions can trigger instabilities if certain threshold behavior requirements are met. Such instabilities can lead, for example, to the spontaneous formation of hexagonal polariton lattices (corresponding to six-spot patterns in the far field), or to rolls (corresponding to two-spot far field patterns). The competition among these patterns can be controlled to a certain degree by applying control beams. In this paper, we summarize the theory of pattern formation and election in microcavities and illustrate the switching between patterns via simulation results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUltrafast Bandgap Photonics
EditorsEric Mazur, Michael K. Rafailov
ISBN (Electronic)9781510600768
StatePublished - 2016
EventUltrafast Bandgap Photonics - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 20 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherUltrafast Bandgap Photonics
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Semiconductor microcavity
  • all-optical switching
  • modulational instabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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