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Title: Non-equilibrium strongly-correlated quantum dynamics in photonic resonator arrays
Author: Grujic, Thomas
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Strong effective photon-photon interactions mediated by atom-photon couplings have been routinely achievable in QED setups for some time now. Recently, there have been several proposals to push the physics of interacting photons into many- body distributed architectures. The essential idea is to coherently couple together arrays of QED resonators, such that photons can hop between resonators while interacting with each other inside each resonator. These proposed structures have attracted intense theoretical attention while simultaneously inspiring experimental efforts to realise this novel regime of strongly-correlated many-body states of light. A central challenge of both theoretical and practical importance is to understand the physics of such coupled resonator arrays (CRAs) beyond equilibrium, when unavoidable (or sometimes even desired) photon loss processes are accounted for. This thesis presents several studies whose purpose can roughly be divided in two aims. The first part studies just what constitutes a valid physical and computational representation of non-equilibrium driven-dissipative CRAs. Addressing these ques- tions constitutes essential groundwork for further investigations of CRA phenomena, as numerical experiments are likely to guide and interpret near-future experimen- tal array observations. The relatively small body of existing work on CRAs out of equilibrium has often truncated their full, rich physics. It is important to establish the effects and validity of these approximations. To this end we introduce powerful numerical algorithms capable of efficiently simulating the full dynamics of CRAs, and use them to characterise the non-equilibrium steady states of arrays reached under the combined influence of dissipation and pumping. Having established the rigour necessary to realistically describe CRAs, we exam- ine two novel phenomena observable in near-future small arrays. Firstly we relate a counter-intuitive ‘super bunching’ in the statistics of photons emitted from arrays engineered to demonstrate strong effective photon-photon repulsion at the single and two-photon level, to an interplay between the underlying eigen-structure and details of the non-equilibrium operation. Secondly we characterise a dynamical phenomenon in which domains of ‘frozen’ photons remain trapped in sufficiently nonlinear arrays. Finally we present a preliminary characterisation of a previously unexplored phase diagram of arrays under coherent two-photon pumping. Com- petition between the coherence injected by the pumping, photon interactions and delocalisation processes lead to interesting new physical signatures.
Supervisor: Jaksch, Dieter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic and laser physics ; quantum optics ; strongly-correlated systems ; non-equilibrium