Experimental characterization of nonlocal photon fluids

Year: 2015

Authors: Vocke D., Roger T., Marino F., Wright E.M., Carusotto I., Clerici M., Faccio D.

Autors Affiliation: Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK;
CNR-INO, Largo Enrico Fermi 6, I-50025 Firenze, Italy;
College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA:
INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trento, I-38123 Povo, Italy

Abstract: Quantum gases of atoms and exciton-polaritons are now well-established theoretical and experimental tools for fundamental studies of quantum many-body physics and suggest promising applications to quantum computing. Given their technological complexity, it is of paramount interest to devise other systems where such quantum many-body physics can be investigated at lesser technological expense. Here we examine a relatively well-known system of laser light propagating through thermo-optical defocusing media: based on a hydrodynamic description of light as a quantum fluid of interacting photons, we investigate such systems as a valid room-temperature alternative to atomic or exciton-polariton condensates for studies of many-body physics. First, we show that by using a technique traditionally used in oceanography it is possible to perform a direct measurement of the single-particle part of the dispersion relation of the elementary excitations on top of the photon fluid and to detect its global flow. Then, using a pump-and-probe setup, we investigate the dispersion of excitation modes of the fluid: for very long wavelengths, a sonic, dispersionless propagation is observed that we interpret as a signature of superfluid behavior. (C) 2015 Optical Society of America.

Journal/Review: OPTICA

Volume: 2 (5)      Pages from: 484  to: 490

More Information: Autonomous Province of Trento; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (EP/J00443X/1); European Research Council (ERC) (306559).
DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.2.000484

Citations: 69
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