Multiphoton processes, Nonlinear optics, Semiconductors, Two photon absorbing materials


The general goal of this dissertation is to provide a comprehensive description of the limitations of established theories on bound electronic nonlinearities in direct-gap semiconductors by performing various experiments on wide and narrow bandgap semiconductors along with developing theoretical models. Nondegenerate two-photon absorption (2PA) is studied in several semiconductors showing orders of magnitude enhancement over the degenerate counterpart. In addition, three-photon absorption (3PA) is studied in ZnSe and other semiconductors and a new theory using a Kane 4-band model is developed which fits new data well. Finally, the narrow gap semiconductor InSb is studied with regard to multiphoton absorption, free-carrier nonlinearities and decay mechanisms. The non-degenerate two-photon absorption was investigated in several direct-gap semiconductors with picosecond and femtosecond pulses. Large enhancements in 2PA were demonstrated when employing highly non-degenerate photon pairs and the results were shown to be consistent to a simple 2-parabolic band theory based on a “dressed” state approach. The nonlinear refractive index induced in such configurations was also calculated and possible implications of such extreme behavior are discussed. A large number of measurements of 3PA were taken at multiple wavelengths and in several semiconductors. The subsequent analysis has shown that simple 2-band model calculations (based on either perturbative or tunneling approaches) do not adequately describe the experimental trends. A more comprehensive model, based on Kane’s 4-band theory was developed and we calculate three-photon spectra for zincblende structures within the perturbative iv framework. We have confirmed the results of our calculations performing a series of Z-scans in semiconductors ZnSe and ZnS, yielding complete experimental three-photon spectra. A systematic approach based on using a large variety of pulse durations was needed to quantify the wealth of nonlinear optical processes in InSb, accessible in the mid-infrared range. Femtosecond pulses provided a lower limit to measurements of the instantaneous effects (absorptive and refractive), while picosecond pulses allowed further characterization of the freecarrier effects, including population dynamics in the high density regime (Auger effects). The model developed permitted us to verify the temperature dependence of free-carrier absorption recently predicted, and to successfully model optical limiting data with longer, nanosecond pulses.


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Graduation Date





Van Stryland, Eric W.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics








Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic