Ultrafast strain-induced charge transport in semiconductor superlattices
journal contributionposted on 05.10.2020, 15:13 by Feiran Wang, Caroline Poyser, Mark Greenaway, Andrey Akimov, Richard Campion, Anthony Kent, Mark Fromhold, Alexander Balanov
We investigate the effect of hypersonic (> 1 GHz) acoustic phonon wavepackets on electron transport in a semiconductor superlattice. Our quantum mechanical simulations demonstrate that a GHz train of picosecond deformation strain pulses propagating through a superlattice can generate current oscillations whose frequency is many times higher than that of the strain pulse train, potentially reaching the THz regime. The shape and polarity of the calculated current pulses agree well with experimentally measured electric signals. The calculations also explain and accurately reproduce the measured variation of the induced current pulse magnitude with the strain pulse amplitude and applied bias voltage. Our results open a route to developing acoustically-driven semiconductor superlattices as sources of millimetre and sub-millimetre electromagnetic waves.