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Strong coupling between distant photonic nanocavities and its dynamic control


The formation of a coupled state among on-chip, photonic nanostructures at arbitrary positions as well as its dynamic control are important in the realization of next-generation photonic circuits with elevated functionality such as stopping/slowing of light and quantum information processing. Here, we demonstrate that strong coupling and its dynamic control can be realized for distant, ultrahigh-Q photonic nanocavities. We use a pair of nanocavities with Q-factors exceeding 400,000, connected indirectly by a waveguide with a modified density of states. Surprisingly, even though the distance between the nanocavities exceeds 100 wavelengths, we clearly observe Rabi oscillation, indicating their strong coupling. This oscillation exchanges photons between the nanocavities with a period of 54 ps while concentrating them in the nanocavities, not in the waveguide. In addition, by dynamically controlling the properties of either nanocavity, this exchange of photons can be stopped on demand, freezing the photon state.

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Figure 1: Scheme of coupling between distant photonic nanocavities through a waveguide.
Figure 2: Numerical analysis of the proposed scheme.
Figure 3: SEM image of the fabricated sample.
Figure 4: Experimental demonstration of strong coupling between two distant nanocavities.
Figure 5: Dynamic control of the coupling state between nanocavities.
Figure 6: Experiment with coupled cavities at the single-photon level.


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The authors thank M. Yamaguchi and Y. Taguchi for fruitful discussions and helpful advice. This work was partly supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, FIRST programme, and the Global Centre of Excellence for Education and Research on Photonics and Electronics Science and Engineering of Kyoto University, Japan. Y.S. acknowledges support from a Research Fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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S.N. planned and organized the entire project. Y.S. revealed the design conditions necessary to achieve strong coupling between distant nanocavities through a waveguide, based on analyses performed with Y.T. and T.A. The photonic crystal structures were fabricated by Y.S. together with Y.T. Measurements were performed by Y.S. together with J.U. and T.A. All authors discussed the results and wrote the manuscript.

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Sato, Y., Tanaka, Y., Upham, J. et al. Strong coupling between distant photonic nanocavities and its dynamic control. Nature Photon 6, 56–61 (2012).

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