University of Birmingham, Physics East, Room LG22


Komal Pahwa
Lawrence Mudarikwa

Cooperative Optomechanics of Cold Atoms in a Ring Resonator

Cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) tells us how the fundamental interactions between light and matter can be tailored by modifying the local environment. For example, optical cavities can be used to increase the intensity per photon and the effective lifetime, leading to strong coupling between single atoms and photons.

We are building an experiment to study ensembles of cold atoms in a high-finesse optical ring resonator. For large enough numbers of atoms, the coupling to the cavity field is both collective and coherent, overwhelming dissipation due to spontaneous emission and cavity emission. In this regime, known as collective strong coupling, the atoms move under the influence of a quantum optical force which is modified by the atoms themselves. This leads to rich nonlinear dynamics and emergent collective effects.

This system has applications in quantum information processing, precision metrology, quantum simulation, and the burgeoning field of cavity quantum optomechanics. Special attention will be focussed on systems with dynamic optical lattices, operating in a regime where the motional dynamics of the atoms strongly modify the optical trapping fields.