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13/03/2018: Interacting Rydberg Excitons in Cuprous Oxide

PhD Course in Materials Science and Nanotechnology

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Mar 13, 2018
from 03:30 to 05:00


Seminar room, 1st Floor, U5 Building

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Lecturer: Manfred Bayer - Experimentelle Physik 2, TU Dortmund, Germany


Title: Interacting Rydberg Excitons in Cuprous Oxide




Excitons determine the optical properties of semiconductors and insulators. Their description as hydrogen atom-like complexes has turned out to be an extremely successful concept. In Rydberg atoms an electron has been promoted into a state with high principal quantum number. Thereby the atom becomes a mesoscopic quantum object with dimensions up to the micrometer-range. Recently it was shown that also an exciton can be highly excited by observing states with principal quantum number up to n=25 in natural cuprous oxide crystals. This corresponds to an average radius of the wave functions of more than 1 μm so that the exciton wave function covers more than 10 billion crystal unit cells. In this contribution we will discuss possible limitations for the highest excitable principal quantum number in experiment. We will also address the behavior of these excitons when exposed to strong electric or magnetic fields, and compare this behavior to atoms. Rydberg excitons exhibit also giant interaction effects with other excitations in the crystal. An example is the giant exciton-exciton interaction, leading to the Rydberg blockade where the presence of one Rydberg exciton blocks the excitation of another one in its vicinity. The efficiency of this blockade scales with the 10-th power of the principal quantum number. Another example is the interaction of excitons with a low-density electron-hole plasma. Here the Mott transitions from an insulating to a metallic phase can be studied with unprecedented accuracy: while the band gap energy becomes renormalized by the plasma, the exciton energies surprisingly remain unaffected with micro-eV resolution.