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Reconstruction of Bloch wavefunctions of holes in a semiconductor

J. B. Costello1, S. D. O'Hara1, Q. Wu1, D. C. Valovcin2, L. N. Pfeiffer3, K. W. West3, M. S. Sherwin1*

1 Physics Department and Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

2 Mathworks, 1 Apple Hill Drive, Natick, MA 01760

3 Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544

* Corresponding authors emails: sherwin@ucsb.edu
DOI10.24435/materialscloud:m0-t8 [version v1]

Publication date: Jul 20, 2021

How to cite this record

J. B. Costello, S. D. O'Hara, Q. Wu, D. C. Valovcin, L. N. Pfeiffer, K. W. West, M. S. Sherwin, Reconstruction of Bloch wavefunctions of holes in a semiconductor, Materials Cloud Archive 2021.113 (2021), doi: 10.24435/materialscloud:m0-t8.


A central goal of condensed matter physics is to understand the rich and diverse electronic and optical properties that emerge as wavelike electrons move through the periodically-arranged atoms in crystalline materials. However, more than 90 years after Bloch derived the functional forms of electronic waves in crystals (now known as Bloch wavefunctions) rapid scattering processes have so far prevented their direct experimental reconstruction. In high-order sideband generation (HSG), electrons and holes generated in semiconductors by a near-infrared (NIR) laser are accelerated to high kinetic energy by a strong terahertz field, and recollide to emit NIR sidebands before they are scattered. Here we reconstruct the Bloch wavefunctions of two types of holes in gallium arsenide wavelengths much longer than the spacing between atoms by experimentally measuring sideband polarizations and introducing an elegant theory that ties those polarizations to quantum interference between different recollision pathways. These Bloch wavefunctions are compactly visualized on the surface of a sphere. Because HSG can, in principle, be observed from any direct-gap semiconductor or insulator, we expect the method introduced in this Article can be used to reconstruct low-energy Bloch wavefunctions in a large class of bulk and nanostructured crystalline materials, and thus enable important new insights into the origin and engineering of electronic and optical properties of condensed matter. This record contains the data and analysis scripts used for these experiments.

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External references

Journal reference (Paper in which data is discussed)
J. B. Costello, S. D. O'Hara, Q. Wu, et al. [in preparation]
Preprint (Preprint where data is discussed)


condensed matter physics nonlinear optics Bloch wavefunctions gallium arsenide Luttinger Hamiltonian terahertz Experimental non-equilibrium physics

Version history:

2021.113 (version v1) [This version] Jul 20, 2021 DOI10.24435/materialscloud:m0-t8