Discovery of matter-wave polaritons sheds new light on photonic quantum technologies
Experimental schematic and polariton formation. Credit: Nature Physics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01565-4

The development of experimental platforms that advance the field of quantum science and technology comes with a unique set of advantages and challenges common to any emerging technology. The formation of matter-wave polaritons in an optical lattice is an experimental discovery that enables studies of a central QIST paradigm through direct quantum simulation using ultracold atoms. The researchers project that their novel quasiparticles, which mimic strongly interacting photons in materials and devices but circumvent some of the inherent challenges, will benefit the further development of QIST platforms that are poised to transform computing and communication technology.

The findings are detailed in a paper.

The research sheds light on fundamental polariton properties and related many-body phenomena.

While photon can be ideal carriers of quantum information, they do not normally interact with each other, which is an important challenge in work with photon-based QIST platforms. The controlled exchange of quantum information is hampered by the absence of such interactions. Scientists have found a way to make polaritons, which are chimera-like hybrid between light and matter. The heavier quasiparticles make it possible for the photons to interact. This will allow the implementation of photon-based quantum gate operations.

The limited lifetime of these photon-based polaritons is a major challenge.

Discovery of matter-wave polaritons sheds new light on photonic quantum technologies
An artistic rendering of the research findings in the polariton study shows the atoms in an optical lattice forming an insulating phase (left); atoms turning into matter-wave polaritons via vacuum coupling mediated by microwave radiation represented by the green color (center); polaritons becoming mobile and forming a superfluid phase for strong vacuum coupling (right). Credit: Alfonso Lanuza/Schneble Lab/Stony Brook University.

The published polariton research circumvents the limitations caused by decay completely. Atomic matter waves carry the photon aspects of their polaritons. This feature allows access to regimes that are not accessible in photon-based polaritonic systems.

The development of quantum mechanics has dominated the last century, and a second quantum revolution is underway around the globe, including at corporations such as IBM.

The researchers conducted their experiments with a platform featuring ultracold atoms in an optical lattice and a potential landscape formed by standing waves of light. They implemented a scenario in which the atoms trapped in the lattice were surrounded by clouds of vacuum waves made of evanescent matter waves.

The team found that the polaritonic particles became much more mobile. The researchers were able to directly probe their inner structure by gently shaking the lattice. The matter-wave polaritons form stable phases of quasiparticle matter when left alone.

We performed a quantum simulation of an exciton-polariton system in a novel regime.

The graduate students included in the research were Alfonso Lanuza, Youngshin Kim, and Joonhyuk Kwon.

More information: Joonhyuk Kwon et al, Formation of matter-wave polaritons in an optical lattice, Nature Physics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01565-4 Journal information: Nature Physics Citation: Discovery of matter-wave polaritons sheds new light on photonic quantum technologies (2022, April 6) retrieved 6 April 2022 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.