Bloch gain in dc-ac-driven semiconductor superlattices in the absence of electric domains
journal contributionposted on 24.07.2013 by Timo Hyart, Kirill Alekseev, Erkki V. Thuneberg
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We theoretically study the feasibility of amplification and generation of terahertz radiation in dc-ac-driven semiconductor superlattices in the absence of electric domains. We find that if in addition to a dc bias a strong terahertz pump field is applied, a Bloch gain profile for a small terahertz signal can be achieved under the conditions of a positive static differential conductivity. Here, the positive differential conductivity arises, similarly to the case of a large-signal amplification scheme [H. Kroemer, arXiv:cond-mat/0009311 (unpublished)], due to modifications in dc current density caused by the application of a high-frequency ac field [ K. Unterrainer et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 76 2973 (1996)]. Whereas the sign of absorption at low and zero frequencies is sensitive to the ac fields, the gain profile in the vicinity of the gain maximum is robust. We suggest to use this ac-induced effect in a starter for a terahertz Bloch oscillator. Our analysis demonstrates that the application of a short terahertz pulse to a superlattice allows the suppression of the undesirable formation of electric domains and the achievement of a sustained large-amplitude operation of the dc-biased Bloch oscillator.