Strong coupling in a single quantum dot-semiconductor microcavity system

Nature. 2004 Nov 11;432(7014):197-200. doi: 10.1038/nature02969.


Cavity quantum electrodynamics, a central research field in optics and solid-state physics, addresses properties of atom-like emitters in cavities and can be divided into a weak and a strong coupling regime. For weak coupling, the spontaneous emission can be enhanced or reduced compared with its vacuum level by tuning discrete cavity modes in and out of resonance with the emitter. However, the most striking change of emission properties occurs when the conditions for strong coupling are fulfilled. In this case there is a change from the usual irreversible spontaneous emission to a reversible exchange of energy between the emitter and the cavity mode. This coherent coupling may provide a basis for future applications in quantum information processing or schemes for coherent control. Until now, strong coupling of individual two-level systems has been observed only for atoms in large cavities. Here we report the observation of strong coupling of a single two-level solid-state system with a photon, as realized by a single quantum dot in a semiconductor microcavity. The strong coupling is manifest in photoluminescence data that display anti-crossings between the quantum dot exciton and cavity-mode dispersion relations, characterized by a vacuum Rabi splitting of about 140 microeV.