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.
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The authors thank Ataç Imamoğlu, Tobias Kippenberg and Kerry Vahala for discussions and Alex Retzker for proofreading the manuscript. This work is part of the QIP-IRC supported by EPSRC and the Integrated Project Qubit Applications (QAP) supported by the IST directorate and was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the Royal Society.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Hartmann, M., Brandão, F. & Plenio, M. Strongly interacting polaritons in coupled arrays of cavities. Nature Phys 2, 849–855 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys462
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