Indistinguishability of the photons emitted by a semiconductor quantum dot under continuous-wave resonant excitation

Quantum dots are good candidates as single photon emitters for quantum information networks, facilitating their integration in photonic circuits based on well known semiconductor technology. In this context, this work focuses on the indistinguishability of the photons emitted by semiconductor quantum dots excited resonantly. We use a peculiar configuration where the quantum dots are embedded in a planar microcavity, allowing for better excitation and collection efficiencies. We are then able to investigate very low excitation power regimes, where the photons are elastically scattered by the fundamental transition of the quantum dot (Resonant Rayleigh Scattering). In this regime, the coherence of the excitation laser is imprinted on the emitted photons, making the quantum dot a source of single photons with a very long coherence.
The indistinguishability is investigated by using a Hong–Ou–Mandel interferometer to perform two-photon interference. We carry out a comprehensive experimental study of the excitation power dependence of the indistinguishability as well as its dependence on the excitation laser coherence, which shows the important role of elastic scattering in the low excitation power limit. It appears that a new figure of merit we call “coalescence time window” needs to be introduced to assess the indistinguishability as a temporal phenomenon, an aspect which is particularly relevant when dealing with continuous-wave excitation.

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