Cavity quantum electrodynamics with many-body states of a two-dimensional electron gas

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, pp. 332-335
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258595

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Light-matter interaction has played a central role in understanding as well as engineering new states of matter. Reversible coupling of excitons and photons enabled groundbreaking results in condensation and superfluidity of nonequilibrium quasiparticles with a photonic component. We investigated such cavity-polaritons in the presence of a high-mobility two-dimensional electron gas, exhibiting strongly correlated phases. When the cavity was on resonance with the Fermi level, we observed previously unknown many-body physics associated with a dynamical hole-scattering potential. In finite magnetic fields, polaritons show distinct signatures of integer and fractional quantum Hall ground states. Our results lay the groundwork for probing nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum Hall states and exploiting the electron density dependence of polariton splitting so as to obtain ultrastrong optical nonlinearities.

Complex light and matter interactions

When electrons are confined to a plane, lowered in temperature, and subjected to a magnetic field, they can interact and organize themselves into so-called many-body states and exhibit complex quantum electronic behavior. However, discerning the underlying interactions can be difficult. Adding light to the mix, Smolka et al. now show that these self-organized electronic states can be controlled and manipulated to unravel the details of the exotic electronic behavior.

Science, this issue p. 332

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