Periodic Reporting for period 4 - FoQAL (Frontiers of Quantum Atom-Light Interactions)
Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-05-31
Separately, in recent years, groups worldwide have succeeded in interfacing cold atoms with micro- and nano-photonic systems, with a primary goal of improving the figures of merit and scalability of their macroscopic counterparts. However, while the direct transfer of paradigms from macroscopic to nanoscopic systems might increase figures of merit, it results in no fundamentally new functionalities. Within this context, FoQAL pursues a dramatic and powerful new vision of what can be achieved with nanophotonic systems. Exploiting unique features such as control over the dimensionality and dispersion of light, complex multiple scattering and interference, the engineering of quantum vacuum forces, and the strong optical fields and forces associated with confining light to the nanoscale, we aim to completely re-define our understanding of the ways in which light and matter can interact at the quantum level. In particular, our objectives were to develop fundamentally new paradigms for atomic trapping, tailoring atomic interactions, and quantum nonlinear optics that are not bound by previous limits, and which cannot be duplicated in macroscopic systems even in principle.
Furthermore, due to its universal nature, the spin model can even be used to provide new insights into “conventional” atomic systems, such as free-space ensembles. One interesting aspect of this model is that it accounts for multiple scattering and interference of light emission, which are not included in conventional models. We have shown that interference can be a remarkable resource. For example, by exploiting interference, we have developed a new protocol for a quantum memory for light, whose error bound as a function of system resources is exponentially better than previously developed bounds. We have also shown that this model may provide insights on why the refractive index of materials at optical frequencies is universally so small, being always of order unity.
FOQAL has resulted in at least 27 publications in total, including in prominent journals such as PRX (3 publications), Nature Communications (2), Nature, and a review of the new field of atom-nanophotonics interfaces in Review of Modern Physics. These include two collaborative papers with experiments that explore the phenomena that we have proposed. Furthermore, we have reached an audience of over 5000 researchers, through dissemination in workshops, conferences, seminars, and schools.