The carrier capture in a separate confinement heterostructure quantum well has been studied both experimentally and theoretically. Our calculations show that the electron and hole capture time vary strongly as a function of the excess energy. At an excess energy of 40 meV, both capture times are equal resulting in an ambipolar capture process which allows a direct comparison between theory and experiment. We carried out subpicosecond luminescence spectroscopy experiments and deduce an ambipolar overall capture time of 20 ps, a number which for the first time is in agreement with theoretical predictions. The quantum mechanical overall capture time of 20 ps gives rise to a classical local capture time of 3 ps which is determined from a diffusion model.