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  • Mid/far-infrared emission from a semiconductor multiple quantum well structure under femtosecond optical pulse excitation is studied. It is shown that resonant nonlinear-wave mixing in the quantum wells can be used for the generation of ultra-short mid/far-infrared pulses with a duration of a few cycles or even a single cycle. Explicit analytical formulas for the mid/far-infrared radiation field and polarization in a simple three-level model of a quantum well are presented and compared with numerical simulations. The power of the mid/far-infrared emission and the down conversion efficiency of the resonant nonlinear-wave mixing are discussed. © 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.