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We show that ballistic current generation can occur in a semiconductor via quantum interference between absorption pathways for orthogonal polarization components of a single-frequency beam. This effect occurs for a subset of noncentrosymmetric materials, is macroscopically associated with a second-order nonlinear optical susceptibility, and produces current injection linearly proportional to the beam intensity. We demonstrate this in wurtzite CdSe (E g ϭ1.75 eV) at 295 K using cw anddoi:10.1063/1.125084 fatcat:3hin2b6m4nawheaj6ecralrb24