Interaction effects in optically dense materials

S. T. Cundiff, J. M. Shacklette, V. O. Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The properties of optically dense materials are influenced by interactions between elementary optical excitations (oscillators). Since such interactions are absent in the dilute limit, the resulting properties are unique to optically dense materials. While linear optical experiments can probe these effects, for example the Lorentz-Lorenz resonance shift, they are often more apparent in nonlinear experiments that are sensitive to coherence. Direct gap semiconductors are typically optically dense close to the fundamental gap and have been extensively studied using ultrafast coherent spectroscopy over the last ten years. However, their coherent optical properties are very complex because of many-body interactions among the extended excitations (electron-hole pairs or excitons). Dense atomic vapors have also been studied, but typically using frequency domain techniques. We present the results of using ultrafast techniques to study both semiconductors and dense atomic vapors. This reveals the similarities and differences of the two systems, yielding insight into the characteristics of each individually.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventUltrafast Phenomena in Semiconductors V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 25 2001Jan 26 2001


  • Lorentz local field
  • Optically dense
  • Potassium
  • Semiconductors
  • Transient four-wave-mixing
  • Ultrafast spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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