The driven Jaynes-Cummings system: from atoms and cavities to circuits and quantum dots
The Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian models the interaction of a qubit and a single mode of the electromagnetic field; adding an external field and dissipation defines the driven Jaynes-Cummings system. Through two decades of development, this elementary model has provided the bridge between a wide array of experiments focused on the quantum mechanics of photons, their manipulation and control: qubits are realized in Rydberg atoms, as optical transitions in atoms and quantum dots, and with Josephson junction devices; electromagnetic fields in optical and microwave cavities, microwave striplines, and photonic crystals are considered. This talk reviews highlights from this history, following a path from experiments with thermal atomic beams and optical cavities to those with superconducting circuits. The driven Jaynes-Cummings system is presented as an example of an open quantum system that carries the physics of photon interactions from microwave to optical frequencies, from two-state atoms to the Cooper-pair box, while accounting for the central importance of interactions between these elements and their environment. The talk concludes with some very recent examples of the many surprises hidden within this model.