[Under construction]2016 AFOSR MURIPhotonic Quantum MatterPO: Dr. Grace Metcalfe, Atomic and Molecular PhysicsPI: Dr. Mohammad Hafezi, University of MarylandWebsite: TBD
It is the central aim of this multi-investigator proposal to combine state-of-the-art photonic devices with strong photon-photon interactions to access a completely new parameter regime where photonic devices display the complex dynamics usually associated with their electronic counterparts, yet can be almost fully controlled at the quantum level in a way that is currently not possible in solid-state electronic devices. Since unlike electrons, photons can be easily destroyed (and created), these photonic devices will be operated in a driven regime far from thermal equilibrium, which poses new challenges, as well as opportunities, both for the theoretical description and for the experimental implementation. In essence, our work will aim to create and explore new forms of photonic quantum matter, which represents a fundamentally new platform for exploring the boundary between quantum many-body physics, materials properties, and information science. While the most stunning demonstrations of synthetic quantum matter to date have been implemented using laser cooled atoms or ions, the new photonic platform offers qualitatively new opportunities to explore the interplay between quantum coherence and dissipation, the fundamental processes which determine the observable properties of macroscopic systems. In particular, we will address most fundamental and deep open questions in non-equilibrium physics, such as classification of steady states and approaches to them into some fundamental universality classes, similar to phase transitions in equilibrium physics, new types of ordering in strongly driven dissipative systems, and quantum generalization of the KAM theorem that states that a small breaking of integrability is not sufficient to render a system chaotic. Furthermore, the new platform will allow us to create completely new classes of many-body states that do not exist in nature, such as bosonic fractional quantum Hall states.