Journal article

Quantum transport of strongly interacting photons in a one-dimensional nonlinear waveguide

  • Hafezi, Mohammad Physics Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA - Joint Quantum Institute, Department of Physics University of Maryland and National Institute of Standards and Technology, College Park, USA
  • Chang, Darrick E. Center for the Physics of Information and Institute for Quantum Information, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
  • Gritsev, Vladimir Physics Department, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Demler, Eugene Physics Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
  • Lukin, Mikhail D. Physics Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
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  • Physical Review A - Atomic, molecular and optical physics. - 2012, vol. 85, no. 1, p. 013822
English We present a theoretical technique for solving the quantum transport problem of a few photons through a one-dimensional, strongly nonlinear waveguide. We specifically consider the situation where the evolution of the optical field is governed by the quantum nonlinear Schrödinger equation. Although this kind of nonlinearity is quite general, we focus on a realistic implementation involving cold atoms loaded in a hollow-core optical fiber, where the atomic system provides a tunable nonlinearity that can be large even at a single-photon level. In particular, we show that when the interaction between photons is effectively repulsive, the transmission of multiphoton components of the field is suppressed. This leads to antibunching of the transmitted light and indicates that the system acts as a single-photon switch. On the other hand, in the case of attractive interaction, the system can exhibit either antibunching or bunching, which is in stark contrast to semiclassical calculations. We show that the bunching behavior is related to the resonant excitation of bound states of photons inside the system.
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