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Nonreciprocal Quantum Optical Devices Based on Chiral Interaction of Confined Light with Spin-Polarized Atoms

December 4, 2017 - 11:00am
Speaker: 
Arno Rauschenbeutel
Institution: 
Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology

The confinement of light in nanophotonic structures results in an inherent link between the light’s local polarization and its propagation direction [1]. Remarkably, this leads to chiral, i.e., propagation-direction-dependent effects in the emission and absorption of light by quantum emitters [2]. For example, when coupling atoms to an evanescent field, the emission rates into counter-propagating optical modes can become asymmetric [3]. In our group, we became aware of this chiral light–emitter coupling when studying the interaction of single rubidium atoms with the evanescent part of a light field that is confined by continuous total internal reflection in a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) microresonator [4]. In the following, we employed this effect to demonstrate an integrated optical isolator [5] as well as an integrated optical circulator [6] which operate at the single-photon level and which exhibit low loss. The latter are the first two examples of a new class of nonreciprocal nanophotonic devices which exploit the chiral interaction of quantum emitters with transversally confined photons.

[1] K. Y. Bliokh et al. Nat. Photon. 9, 796 (2015)

[2] P. Lodahl et al. Nature 541, 473 (2017)

[3] R. Mitsch et al. Nature Commun. 5, 5713 (2014)

[4] C. Junge et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 213604 (2013)

[5] C. Sayrin et al. Phys. Rev. X 5, 041036 (2015)

[6] M. Scheucher et al. Science 354, 1577 (2016)

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