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Publication Detail / Abstract

A. Cartella, T. F. Nova, M. Fechner, R. Merlin, A. Cavalleri

Parametric amplification of optical phonons

published on PNAS on November 27, 2018
> Full text via publisher
We use coherent midinfrared optical pulses to resonantly excite large-amplitude oscillations of the Si–C stretching mode in silicon carbide. When probing the sample with a second pulse, we observe parametric optical gain at all wavelengths throughout the reststrahlen band. This effect reflects the amplification of light by phonon-mediated four-wave mixing and, by extension, of optical-phonon fluctuations. Density functional theory calculations clarify aspects of the microscopic mechanism for this phenomenon. The high-frequency dielectric permittivity and the phonon oscillator strength depend quadratically on the lattice coordinate; they oscillate at twice the frequency of the optical field and provide a parametric drive for the lattice mode. Parametric gain in phononic four-wave mixing is a generic mechanism that can be extended to all polar modes of solids, as a means to control the kinetics of phase transitions, to amplify many-body interactions or to control phonon-polariton waves.
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