Non-Poissonian photon statistics from macroscopic photon cutting materials

Mathijs De Jong, A Meijerink, Freddy T. Rabouw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In optical materials energy is usually extracted only from the lowest excited state, resulting in fundamental energy-efficiency limits such as the Shockley-Queisser limit for single-junction solar cells. Photon-cutting materials provide a way around such limits by absorbing high-energy photons and 'cutting' them into multiple low-energy excitations that can subsequently be extracted. The occurrence of photon cutting or quantum cutting has been demonstrated in a variety of materials, including semiconductor quantum dots, lanthanides and organic dyes. Here we show that photon cutting results in bunched photon emission on the timescale of the excited-state lifetime, even when observing a macroscopic number of optical centres. Our theoretical derivation matches well with experimental data on NaLaF4:Pr(3+), a material that can cut deep-ultraviolet photons into two visible photons. This signature of photon cutting can be used to identify and characterize new photon-cutting materials unambiguously.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15537
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2017


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