All-Optical Magnetic Resonance in Semiconductors

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Science  21 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5452, pp. 473-476
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5452.473

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A scheme is proposed wherein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) can be induced and monitored using only optical fields. In analogy to radio-frequency fields used in traditional NMR, circularly polarized light creates electron spins in semiconductors whose hyperfine coupling could tip nuclear moments. Time-resolved Faraday rotation experiments were performed in which the frequency of electron Larmor precession was used as a magnetometer of local magnetic fields experienced by electrons in n-type gallium arsenide. Electron spin excitation by a periodic optical pulse train appears not only to prepare a hyperpolarized nuclear moment but also to destroy it resonantly at magnetic fields proportional to the pulse frequency. This resonant behavior is in many ways supportive of a simple model of optically induced NMR, but a curious discrepancy between one of the observed frequencies and classic NMR values suggests that this phenomenon is more complex.

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