Photonic Quantum Materials: A New Paradigm for Exploring Many-Body Physics

Event Date: April 18, 2019
Speaker: Hadiseh Alaeian
Speaker Affiliation: University of Stuttgart
Time: 10:00 am
Location: PGSC 105A
Priority: No
School or Program: Electrical and Computer Engineering
College Calendar: Show

Hadiseh Alaeian
5th Institute of Physics
University of Stuttgart

For decades light has served as a useful tool to learn about the matter in almost all branches of physics. In most of the applications photons interact only weakly with the matter at low light intensity level hence, can be described classically. However, with recent technological advances in quantum optics and nanofabrication, strong light-matter interactions have been engineered at the few-atom and few- photon level in various cavity-quantum-electrodynamic (QED) architectures. Thereby, the coupling of photons to the atomic states can lead to strong effective photon-photon interactions, which may be utilized for quantum computation and quantum simulation of non-equilibrium many-body systems based on photons.

In this talk first I will demonstrate how the dynamics of photons in an optical cavity follows the behavior of massive particles in a harmonic trap. A feature that can be further utilized to realize a macroscopic photonic system at room temperature. Later, I will explain my current research aiming towards realizing large photon-photon interactions in two different platforms, i) in the cQED limit of an atomic-photonic hybrid system, and ii) with cavity Rydberg polaritons. In the former, I will show how a properly designed cavity in a 1D photonic crystal leads to a substantial boost in the local density of the optical states (LDOS), hence an enhanced atom-photon and atom mediated photon-photon interaction. In the latter, I will introduce a novel type of quasi-particles, composed of highly excited Rydberg atoms and cavity modes, that suggest promising features for inducing large non-linearity between the photons. Towards the end, I outline my future research directions aiming towards developing a new paradigm for studying photon-based quantum materials, a platform that provides us with a precise and versatile toolbox for single-particle and many-body Hamiltonian engineering.

Hadiseh Alaeian received her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Physics from Stanford University in 2015. After that, she was a Humboldt postdoctoral scholar at the University of Bonn in Germany. Since 2018 she has been a group leader at the 5th Institute of Physics at University of Stuttgart. Her current research aims at developing a hybrid atomic-photonic platform for exploring new regimes of light-atom interactions. She is the recipient of a silver medal from Materials Research Society (MRS) from the USA in 2015, a Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship, an early career award, and a young investigator fellowship from Germany in 2016, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Host: Prof. Andrew Weiner (; 45574)