University of Waterloo
“Many-body QED with atoms and photons: A new frontier for quantum optics”
Elucidating new forms of light-matter interactions expands the horizon of our understanding to the physical world. Indeed, light-matter quantum systems have opened a new conceptual umbrella in quantum information science that encompasses a wide range of phenomena from condensed matter to nuclear and particle physics, to statistical mechanics, and to models of quantum gravity. Dynamical processes of these quantum optical systems may be adapted to answering the grand challenges in basic science. However, much of the quantum dynamics, endowed by standard cavity QED, are often masked by small fluctuations around the mean fields. In contrast, I will describe our theory/experimental program towards novel forms of light-matter quantum systems, where highly correlated Rydberg material is strongly coupled to cavity fields. We call this new domain of strong coupling quantum optics, "many-body quantum electrodynamics." I describe our laboratory efforts for the exploration of new physics for light-matter interaction, where locally gauged quantum materials are entirely driven by quantum optical fluctuation. I will discuss some initial results towards realizing spin liquids and self-correcting memories, as diagnosed by the correlated photons leaving the optical cavity. I believe that genuinely surprising phenomena may arise from the non-perturbative physics of many-body QED, where strongly-interacting matter and light are put on equal footing.
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