Quantum Engineering of Optical Nonlinearities

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Science  12 Jan 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5246, pp. 168-173
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5246.168


Second-order optical nonlinearities in materials are of paramount importance for optical wavelength conversion techniques, which are the basis of new high-resolution spectroscopic tools. Semiconductor technology now makes it possible to design and fabricate artificially asymmetric quantum structures in which optical nonlinearities can be calculated and optimized from first principles. Extremely large second-order susceptibilities can be obtained in these asymmetric quantum wells. Moreover, properties such as double resonance enhancement or electric field control will open the way to new devices, such as fully solid-state optical parametric oscillators.