Second-Harmonic Generation Induced by Electric Currents in GaAs

Brian A. Ruzicka, Lalani K. Werake, Guowei Xu, Jacob B. Khurgin, E. Ya. Sherman, Judy Z. Wu, and Hui Zhao
Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 077403 – Published 17 February 2012


We demonstrate a new, nonlinear optical effect of electric currents. First, a steady current is generated by applying a voltage on a doped GaAs crystal. We demonstrate that this current induces second-harmonic generation of a probe laser pulse. Second, we optically inject a transient current in an undoped GaAs crystal by using a pair of ultrafast laser pulses and demonstrate that it induces the same second-harmonic generation. In both cases, the induced second-order nonlinear susceptibility is proportional to the current density. This effect can be used for nondestructive, noninvasive, and ultrafast imaging of currents. These advantages are illustrated by the real-time observations of a coherent plasma oscillation and spatial resolution of current distribution in a device. This new effect also provides a mechanism for electrical control of the optical response of materials.

  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Received 4 July 2011


© 2012 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Brian A. Ruzicka1, Lalani K. Werake1, Guowei Xu1, Jacob B. Khurgin2, E. Ya. Sherman3, Judy Z. Wu1, and Hui Zhao1,*

  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA
  • 2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA
  • 3Departamento de Quimica Fisica, Universidad del Pais Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea UPV/EHU, 48080 Bilbao, Spain and IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, 48011 Bilbao, Spain

  • *

Article Text (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

References (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

Vol. 108, Iss. 7 — 17 February 2012

Reuse & Permissions

1923: Compton shows light’s particle nature
View timeline|#PhysRev125
Access Options

Article Available via CHORUS

Download Accepted Manuscript
Information on SCOAP3 and Physical Review journals
January 3, 2018

High Energy Physics (HEP) papers published after January 1, 2018 in Physical Review Letters, Physical Review C, and Physical Review D are published open access, paid for centrally by SCOAP3. Library subscriptions will be modified accordingly. This arrangement will initially last for two years, up to the end of 2019.

Authorization Required




Sign up to receive regular email alerts from Physical Review Letters

Log In



Article Lookup

Paste a citation or DOI

Enter a citation