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Transport of naturally indirect excitons in wide band-gap semiconductor quantum wells - Pierre Lefebvre

Université de Montpellier

Bât T-18 – Parc Club Orsay – Salle de réunion

Excitons in quantum wells (QWs) based on group-III nitrides or ZnO are naturally indirect in real space, due to the strong internal electric field that exists along the growth axis. Within such excitons, the electron and hole are spatially separated, leading to (1) strong dipole moments and (2) long radiative lifetimes. Extensive studies of indirect excitons (IXs) in GaAs-based heterostructures have shown that a combination of these two features results in many interesting properties of IXs : they can propagate over large distances, they can be controlled in-situ by light or by external gate voltage, they can cool down to the lattice temperature before recombination, and form cold and dense gases of interacting bosons. Compared to traditional IXs in arsenide heterostrutures, IXs in GaN- or ZnO-based QWs have much larger binding energies and smaller Bohr radii. This allows exploring IX propagation up to room temperature, and over a much larger density range.

Using spatially- and time-resolved photoluminescence experiments, we investigate the exciton transport in several QW samples based on GaN and ZnO. The IX emission is imaged, with spectral and temporal resolutions, along the sample plane. Therefore the corresponding spatial density profiles are obtained and monitored as a function of (i) temperature, (ii) the exciton density at the excitation spot, (iii) the substrate material and (iv) the excitation regime (continuous vs pulsed excitation). We provide a comprehensive analysis of the data combined with numerical modeling, and we show that the efficient propagation of IXs takes place in the high density regime where the in-plane disorder is efficiently screened by the dipole-dipole interaction. Under these latter conditions, exciton mobility is almost temperature-independent from 10K up to room temperature. This suggests that exciton-exciton interaction is by far the dominant scattering mechanism, compared to scattering by the interface disorder. However, exciton transport is maintained up to 300K only in the GaN/AlGaN QW that was epitaxially grown on a GaN substrate, since nonradiative processes dominate the transport in the case of a sapphire substrate, for which high densities of threading dislocations are present. We provide a detailed understanding of the physical mechanisms of IX transport and its temperature and density dependence, and we show that IXs in wide band-gap QWs constitute a promising system for the formation of collective bosonic states in semiconductors. Financial support : projects "INDEX" (FP7 PITN-GA-2011-289968) and "OBELIX" (ANR-15-CE30-0020-02).


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