Ionization degree of the electron-hole plasma in semiconductor quantum wells

M. E. Portnoi, I. Galbraith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The degree of ionization of a nondegenerate two-dimensional electron-hole plasma is calculated using the modified law of mass action, which takes into account all bound and unbound states in a screened Coulomb potential. Application of the variable phase method to this potential allows us to treat scattering and bound states on the same footing. Inclusion of the scattering states leads to a strong deviation from the standard law of mass action. A qualitative difference between midgap and wide-gap semiconductors is demonstrated. For wide-gap semiconductors at room temperature, when the bare exciton binding energy is of the order of kBT, the equilibrium consists of an almost equal mixture of correlated electron-hole pairs and uncorrelated free carriers. ©1999 The American Physical Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5570-5581
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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