Intrinsic Perturbations of Bloch Oscillations and Wannier-Stark Ladders in Semiconductor Superlattices

Gero Von Plessen, Torsten Meier, Jochen Feldmann, Peter Thomas, Ernst 0. Göbel, and Stephan W. Koch, Phillips University Marburg, Germany

In the absence of scattering mechanisms, a crystal electron subjected to a homogeneous electric field oscillates in both real and momentum space. This periodic motion has an oscillation frequency proportional to the applied electric field, and is known as Bloch oscillation (BO). It translates into the frequency domain as a spectrum of equally spaced energy levels, the so-called Wannier-Stark ladder (WSL). The two phenomena have recently been detected in optical experiments on semiconductor superlattices. WSLs have shown promise as light modulators, and Bloch oscillators have been discussed as tunable emitters of terahertz (THz) radiation.

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