(Phys.org) Research in quantum optics has primarily investigated the relation between light and matter using small atoms interacting with electromagnetic fields that have substantially larger wavelengths. In an unconventional new study, a team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light set out to explore the interaction between a large atom and acoustic fields with wavelengths several orders of magnitude below the atomic dimensions.
“We realized that the slow propagation speed of sound would let us engineer artificial atoms with internal time delays, or ‘giant’ atoms as we like to call them,” explained researcher Gustav Andersson.
“Due to the short wavelength of sound, surface acoustic wave resonators can be designed to support many more resonant modes than their electromagnetic counterparts,” Andersson said. “By coupling these modes together with superconducting circuits, we hope to create complex quantum states in a hardware-minimal fashion. It would be exciting to see whether such systems could be used for simulating solid-state quantum systems or certain schemes to realize quantum computing.”