Giant Kerr rotation and ellipticity are observed and investigated in an asymmetric planar microcavity with a quantum well in the active region. Rotation angle of the polarization plane as well as ellipticity were determined from time- and frequency-resolved measurements of the Stokes vector components of reflected light. It was found that in a small range of the cavity mode detunings the polarized pump pulse creates a large splitting of the lower polariton branch while leaving its linewidth almost the same. This fact gives a possibility to observe at such detunings the Kerr rotation angle and ellipticity, close to their extremes. A theoretical analysis shows that the decisive role in reaching extreme polarization rotation angles is played by the structure asymmetry. Comprehensive analysis of the polarization state of the light in this regime shows that both renormalization of the exciton energy and the saturation of the excitonic resonance contribute to the observed optical nonlinearities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205308
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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