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Semiconductor double quantum dot micromaser

Science  16 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6219, pp. 285-287
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2501

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Tunnel through and emit coherently

The generation of coherent light (lasers and masers) forms the basis of a large optics industry. Liu et al. demonstrate a type of laser that is driven by the tunneling of single electrons in semiconductor double-quantum dots. Distinct from other existing semiconductor lasers, the emission mechanism is driven by tunneling of single charges between discrete energy levels that are electrically tunable. The ability to tune the levels by single-electron charging would allow their laser (or maser) to be turned on and off rapidly.

Science, this issue p. 285

Abstract

The coherent generation of light, from masers to lasers, relies upon the specific structure of the individual emitters that lead to gain. Devices operating as lasers in the few-emitter limit provide opportunities for understanding quantum coherent phenomena, from terahertz sources to quantum communication. Here we demonstrate a maser that is driven by single-electron tunneling events. Semiconductor double quantum dots (DQDs) serve as a gain medium and are placed inside a high-quality factor microwave cavity. We verify maser action by comparing the statistics of the emitted microwave field above and below the maser threshold.

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