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Published in Science in collaboration with Xinwei Li, et al.

Observation of Dicke Cooperativity in Magnetic Interactions
Cooperative quantum magnetism
One of the earliest and most intensively studied problems in quantum optics is the interaction of a two-level system (an atom) with a single photon. This simple system provides a rich platform for exploring exotic light-matter interactions and the emergence of more complex phenomena such as superradiance, which is a cooperative effect that emerges when the density of atoms is increased and coupling between them is enhanced. Going beyond the light-matter system, Li et al. observed analogous cooperative effects for coupled magnetic systems. The results suggest that ideas in quantum optics could be carried over and used to control and predict exotic phases in condensed matter systems.

Evidence of matter-matter coupling

Physicists show first proof of Dicke cooperativity in a matter-matter system
After their recent pioneering experiments to couple light and matter to an extreme degree, Rice University scientists decided to look for a similar effect in matter alone. They didn’t expect to find it so soon. Rice physicist Junichiro Kono, graduate student Xinwei Li and their international colleagues have discovered the first example of Dicke cooperativity in a matter-matter system, a result reported in Science this week.

Published in Nature Photonics in collaboration with Weilu Gao, et al.

Continuous transition between weak and ultra-strong coupling through exceptional points in carbon nanotube micro-cavity exciton polaritons
Non-perturbative coupling of photons and excitons produces hybrid particles, exciton–polaritons, which have exhibited a variety of many-body phenomena in various microcavity systems. However, the vacuum Rabi splitting (VRS), which defines the strength of photon–exciton coupling, is usually a single constant for a given system. Here, we have developed a unique architecture in which excitons in an aligned single-chirality carbon nanotube film interact with cavity photons in polarization-dependent manners. The system reveals ultrastrong coupling (VRS up to 329 meV or a coupling-strength-to-transition-energy ratio of 13.3%) for polarization parallel to the nanotube axis, whereas VRS is absent for perpendicular polarization. Between these two extremes, VRS is continuously tunable through polarization rotation with exceptional points separating crossing and anticrossing. The points between exceptional points form equienergy arcs onto which the upper and lower polaritons coalesce. The demonstrated on-demand ultrastrong coupling provides ways to explore topological properties of polaritons and quantum technology applications.

Published in Nature Photonics in collaboration with Xinwei Li, et al.

Vacuum Bloch-Siegert shift in Landau polaritons with ultra-high cooperativity
A two-level system resonantly interacting with an a.c. magnetic or electric field constitutes the physical basis of diverse phenomena and technologies. However, Schrödinger’s equation for this seemingly simple system can be solved exactly only under the rotating-wave approximation, which neglects the counter-rotating field component. When the a.c. field is sufficiently strong, this approximation fails, leading to a resonance-frequency shift known as the Bloch–Siegert shift. Here, we report the vacuum Bloch–Siegert shift, which is induced by the ultra-strong coupling of matter with the counter-rotating component of the vacuum fluctuation field in a cavity. Specifically, an ultra-high-mobility two-dimensional electron gas inside a high-Q terahertz cavity in a quantizing magnetic field revealed ultra-narrow Landau polaritons, which exhibited a vacuum Bloch–Siegert shift up to 40 GHz. This shift, clearly distinguishable from the photon-field self-interaction effect, represents a unique manifestation of a strong-field phenomenon without a strong field.

Published in Physical Review A

Circuit configurations which may or may not show superradiant phase transitions
Several superconducting circuit configurations are examined on the existence of superradiant phase transitions (SRPTs) in thermal equilibrium. For some configurations consisting of artificial atoms, whose circuit diagrams are however not specified, and an LC resonator or a transmission line, we confirm the absence of SRPTs in the thermal equilibrium following the similar analysis as the no-go theorem for atomic systems. We also show some other configurations where the absence of SRPTs cannot be confirmed.