LPS Seminar: January 26, 2011 – Andrew Houck

January 25th, 2011  |  Published in All, Upcoming Talks

Laboratory for Physical Sciences Seminar Announcement
Wednesday, January 26, 2011; 3:30 p.m.
Refreshments served at 3:00 p.m.
Seminar Room, Lower Level, LPS
8050 Greenmead Dr., College Park, MD 20740 301-935-6400

Title: Condensed Matter without Matter: Simulating Condensed Matter Systems with Interacting Photons
Andrew Houck
Princeton University

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.

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