Single-shot condensation of exciton polaritons and the hole burning effect

E. Estrecho, T. Gao, N. Bobrovska, M. D. Fraser, M. Steger, L. Pfeiffer, K. West, T. C.H. Liew, M. Matuszewski, D. W. Snoke, A. G. Truscott, E. A. Ostrovskaya

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40 Scopus citations


A bosonic condensate of exciton polaritons in a semiconductor microcavity is a macroscopic quantum state subject to pumping and decay. The fundamental nature of this driven-dissipative condensate is still under debate. Here, we gain an insight into spontaneous condensation by imaging long-lifetime exciton polaritons in a high-quality inorganic microcavity in a single-shot optical excitation regime, without averaging over multiple condensate realisations. We demonstrate that condensation is strongly influenced by an incoherent reservoir and that the reservoir depletion, the so-called spatial hole burning, is critical for the transition to the ground state. Condensates of photon-like polaritons exhibit strong shot-to-shot fluctuations and density filamentation due to the effective self-focusing associated with the reservoir depletion. In contrast, condensates of exciton-like polaritons display smoother spatial density distributions and are second-order coherent. Our observations show that the single-shot measurements offer a unique opportunity to study fundamental properties of non-equilibrium condensation in the presence of a reservoir.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2944
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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