Stony Brook researchers’ discovery of matter-wave polaritons sheds new light on photonic quantum technologies

By Sandra Helsel posted 11 Apr 2022

(Nanowerk) Researchers at Stony Brook University, led by Dominik Schneble, PhD, report the formation of matter-wave polaritons in an optical lattice, an experimental discovery that enables studies of a central QIST paradigm through direct quantum simulation using ultracold atoms. IQT-News summarizes below.
The researchers project that their novel quasiparticles, which mimic strongly interacting photons in materials and devices but circumvent some of the inherent challenges, will benefit the further development of QIST platforms that are poised to transform computing and communication technology.
An important challenge in work with photon-based QIST platforms is that while photons can be ideal carriers of quantum information they do not normally interact with each other. The absence of such interactions also inhibits the controlled exchange of quantum information between them. However, a major challenge is the limited lifetime of these photon-based polaritons due to their radiative coupling to the environment, which leads to uncontrolled spontaneous decay and decoherence.
According to Schneble and colleagues, their published polariton research circumvents such limitations caused by spontaneous decay completely. The photon aspects of their polaritons are entirely carried by atomic matter waves, for which such unwanted decay processes do not exist. This feature opens access to parameter regimes that are not, or not yet, accessible in photon-based polaritonic systems.
“The development of quantum mechanics has dominated the last century, and a ‘second quantum revolution’ toward the development of QIST and its applications is now well underway around the globe, including at corporations such as IBM, Google and Amazon,” says Schneble, a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our work highlights some fundamental quantum mechanical effects that are of interest for emergent photonic quantum systems in QIST ranging from semiconductor nanophotonics to circuit quantum electrodynamics.”

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