Quantum Dynamics of Polariton Condensates

  • Fabrice P. Laussy
Part of the Springer Series in Solid-State Sciences book series (SSSOL, volume 172)


We illustrate the rich and fundamental physics that is accessible with the semiconductor implementation of the quantum superposition of light and matter: exciton–polaritons. The short lifetime of polaritons makes them an out-of-equilibrium system. Their dynamic is an important ingredient in their behaviour and properties. Their peculiar dispersion also allows a rich engineering of various processes, tuning the system from light- to matter-like. Finally, the exciton–exciton interaction turns them into a non-linear system. The interplay of all these factors makes polaritons one of today’s most versatile and fruitful research arena, both theoretically and experimentally. In this chapter we give a rather general picture of these specificities that we isolate in various dimensionalities (0, 1, and 2D). One of the most intensively researched area in the semiconductor implementation of the polariton physics is related to Bose–Einstein condensation. We solve exactly a configuration of relaxation from the Rayleigh circle into the ground state in the framework of quantum Boltzmann master equations and show how coherence builds up spontaneously in the system, by copying in a single quantum state statistical features characteristic of the macroscopic system. In this way, we extend to higher order correlations the historical reasoning of Einstein, who predicted the phenomenon by arguments on the mean populations. We show how lifetime and pumping allow a simpler treatment by reducing the required number of states, for which we present a full quantum treatment. We contrast this condensate build-up with the 0D case where the reduced complexity allows an exact numerical treatment. The coherence build-up in this cavity QED limit manifests as lasing with a sharp line in the cavity mode that produces a variation of the Mollow triplet in the exciton emission, as the cavity effectively replaces the laser in the conventional resonance fluorescence scenario. We show how lasing also arises in this case as a condensation of polaritons, and can be substituted in the case of vanishing intensities by a coherent field formed when strong coupling is optimum. This zero-dimensional limit also provides an exact picture of the transition from the quantum to the classical regime, a universal process of unsuspected complexity. Finally, we illustrate the recent development of polariton quantum hydrodynamics with propagation of coherent wave packets. The short lifetime allows a continuous observation of this dynamics in real space, a picture completed with the observation of their emission spectra in energy–momentum space. The peculiar polariton dispersion is the source of interesting behaviours even when described by the most fundamental and simplest equation of quantum physics: the Schrödinger equation.


Wave Packet Coherent State Quantum Correlator Bose Condensation Cavity Photon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am indebted to Elena del Valle for constant exchanges and collaboration on most of the topics addressed here. Many of the results presented, and some of the most beautiful, are her own. I thank Daniele Sanvitto for his support with my contribution to this volume and for keeping this topic constantly exciting with his fresh experimental approach. I am grateful to Alexey Kavokin for having introduced me to the physics of microcavity polaritons which he also kept exciting, with his own peculiar approach. I also thank C. Tejedor, G. Malpuech, M. Glazov, Yu. Rubo, I. A. Shelykh, A. Gonzalez-Tudela, E. Cancellieri, A. Laucht, J. J. Finley and many other colleagues for discussions on many parts of this work, to which they often contributed to large extents. Support from the Marie Curie IEF “SQOD” is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Walter Schottky InstitutTechnische Universität MünchenGarchingGermany

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