Coupling Quantum Tunneling with Cavity Photons

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Science  05 Apr 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219010

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Tunneling of electrons through a potential barrier is fundamental to chemical reactions, electronic transport in semiconductors and superconductors, magnetism, and devices such as THz-oscillators. While typically controlled by electric fields, a completely different approach is to bind electrons into bosonic quasiparticles with a photonic component. Quasiparticles made of such light-matter microcavity polaritons have recently been demonstrated to Bose-condense into superfluids, whereas spatially separated Coulomb-bound electrons and holes possess strong dipole interactions. Using tunneling polaritons, we connect these two realms, producing bosonic quasiparticles with static dipole moments. Our resulting three-state system yields dark polaritons analogous to those in atomic systems or optical waveguides offering new possibilities for electromagnetically induced transparency, room-temperature condensation, and adiabatic photonic to electronic transfer.

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