As the energy of a single photon is in the sub-attojoule regime, optical single-photon switches could require about 100 times less switching energy than state-of-the-art CMOS transistors whereas the switching time could be on the order of picoseconds or less. Because the areal density of such photonic devices would be naturally much lower than for modern electronic transistors, it would be rather comparatively simple logic that could first benefit from ultimate speed and energy. We aim to explore the foundations towards such devices and circuits by harnessing seeded polariton condensates and investigating materials and structures suitable to achieve polariton blockade.
Towards Analogue Quantum Simulation in Lattices
Another potential application of strongly interacting photons are analogue quantum simulations. Richard Feynman was among the first to envision that well-controlled and measurable systems could be used to efficiently mimic and explore the physics of the otherwise inaccessible and intractable systems. In particular, phenomena like strongly correlated and topological phases that are key to both fundamental and exotic material features such as superconductivity and the spin Hall effect are notoriously difficult to tackle experimentally and theoretically. We are building on our recent demonstration of non-equilibrium BEC of exciton polaritons with an amorphous polymer at room temperature to create photonic potential landscapes for polariton condensates by harnessing novel nanostructured, tunable cavity arrays.
Novel Materials for Strong Light-Matter Interaction
Novel materials with outstanding opto-electronic properties such as high oscillator strength, low dephasing and small inhomogeneous broadening are key for strong light-matter interaction. We are exploring colloidal nanoparticles that can be relatively easily synthesized and assembled. We were able to demonstrate that fully inorganic lead halide perovskites nanocrystals have exceptionally strong light-matter interaction and even support collective optical emission, so-called superfluorescence. These features make them excellent candidates for enabling scalable systems of strongly interacting polaritons.