(MA2) In this Major Activity, we address the fundamental challenges of preparation, control, and measurement of many-body physics in a new system: interacting photons. At present, quantum optics is pushing towards systems with strong interactions at the individual photon level. Indeed, several such systems are just starting to appear in the laboratory. Photon-photon coupling, mediated by an atomic or solid-state medium, is inherently long-range and can be exploited to study novel many-body collective effects and entanglement phenomena. The platforms in this MA feature tunability in both the strength and range of many-body interactions. These features will enable the exploration of the frontiers of collective many-body quantum phenomena in ways that are impossible in traditional, solid state-based systems where the interactions and spin are fixed for a specific material.
We will develop new approaches for designer photonic materials using coupled cavity arrays and photonic crystal techniques, as well as Rydberg-EIT systems. We will also investigate atom-atom interactions mediated by photons using our developed expertise in trapping cold atoms near ultra-thin tapered nanofibers.