Article abstract

Nature Physics 2, 849 - 855 (2006)
Published online: 26 November 2006 | doi:10.1038/nphys462

Subject Categories: Quantum physics | Optical physics

Strongly interacting polaritons in coupled arrays of cavities

Michael J. Hartmann1,2, Fernando G. S. L. Brandão1,2 & Martin B. Plenio1,2

Observing quantum phenomena in strongly correlated many-particle systems is difficult because of the short length- and timescales involved. Exerting control over the state of individual elements within such a system is even more so, and represents a hurdle in the realization of quantum computing devices. Substantial progress has been achieved with arrays of Josephson junctions and cold atoms in optical lattices, where detailed control over collective properties is feasible, but addressing individual sites remains a challenge. Here we show that a system of polaritons held in an array of resonant optical cavities—which could be realized using photonic crystals or toroidal microresonators—can form a strongly interacting many-body system showing quantum phase transitions, where individual particles can be controlled and measured. The system also offers the possibility to generate attractive on-site potentials yielding highly entangled states and a phase with particles much more delocalized than in superfluids.

  1. Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Imperial College London, 53 Exhibition Road, SW7 2PG, UK
  2. QOLS, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, Prince Consort Road, SW7 2BW, UK

Correspondence to: Michael J. Hartmann1,2 e-mail:

Correspondence to: Martin B. Plenio1,2 e-mail:


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