Scientific Results

All-optical control of the quantum flow of a polariton condensate

Year: 2011

Authors: Sanvitto D., Pigeon S., Amo A., Ballarini D., De Giorgi M., Carusotto I., Hivet R., Pisanello F., Sala V.G., Guimaraes P.S.S., Houdre R., Giacobino E., Ciuti C., Bramati A., Gigli G.

Autors Affiliation: NNL, Istituto Nanoscienze – CNR, Via Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy; Laboratoire Matériaux et Phénomènes Quantiques, UMR 7162, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 et CNRS, 75013 Paris, France; Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, École Normale Supérieure et CNRS, UPMC Case 74, 4 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France; CNRS-Laboratoire de Photonique et Nanostructures, Route de Nozay, 91460 Marcoussis, France; Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, IIT-Lecce, Via Barsanti, 73010 Lecce, Italy; INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trento, I-38123 Povo, Italy; Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil; Institut de Physique de la Matière Condensée, Facultédes Sciences de Base, bâtiment de Physique, Station 3, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; Dipartimento Ing. Innovazione, Università del Salento, Via Arnesano, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Abstract: Although photons in vacuum are massless particles that do not appreciably interact with each other, significant interactions appear in suitable nonlinear media, leading to hydrodynamic behaviours typical of quantum fluids(1-6). Here, we show the generation and manipulation of vortex-antivortex pairs in a coherent gas of strongly dressed photons (polaritons) flowing against an artificial potential barrier created and controlled by a light beam in a semiconductor microcavity. The optical control of the polariton flow allows us to reveal new quantum hydrodynamical phenomenologies such as the formation of vortex pairs upstream from the optical barrier, a case of ultra-short time excitation of the quantum flow, and the generation of vortices with counterflow trajectories. Additionally, we demonstrate how to permanently trap and store quantum vortices hydrodynamically generated in the wake of a defect. These observations are supported by time-dependent simulations based on the non-equilibrium Gross-Pitaevskii equation(7).

Journal/Review: NATURE PHOTONICS

Volume: 5 (10)      Pages from: 610  to: 614

More Information: This work was partially supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (GEMINI 07NANO 07043), the IFRAF (Institut Francilien pour les atomes froids), project MIUR FIRB ItalNanoNet and the POLATOM ESF Research Networking Program. I. C. acknowledges financial support from the ERC through the QGBE grant. P. S. S. G. acknowledges support from CNPq, Brazil. A. B. and C. C. are members of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). The authors are grateful to G. Martiradonna for helping with the realization of the laser mask and to P. Cazzato for technical support.
DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2011.211

Citations: 91
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English