"Simulating condensed matter systems with interacting photons"
August 29, 2011 - 11:00am
Marcus Nanotech Conf.
Photons do not interact strongly in nature, and have thus been relegated to a role as a tool rather than an object of study in condensed matter physics.
However, in cavity quantum electrodynamics, the strong interaction of light with a single atom can lead to strong atom-mediated photon-photon
interactions, even when the light and atomic transitions are not resonant. Recent theoretical proposals have predicted phase transitions in arrays of
these cavities, demonstrating that complex matter-like phenomena can emerge from a sea of interacting photons.
I will present our recent measurements demonstrating strong photon-photon interactions in superconducting cavity QED. Here, we observe a photon
blockade effect, where the presence of one photon blocks further transmission through the cavity when probing the system with a method in direct analogy to electron transport measurements in quantum dots. I will also present preliminary measurements of cavity arrays, and discuss prospects for observing phase transitions and effects of broken time reversal symmetry in these arrays. I will conclude by briefly presenting work on a new superconducting qubit which allows for a tunable vacuum Rabi coupling, and thus in situ tunability of photon-photon interactions.