Building Correlated and Topological Quantum Matter from Light
In this talk I will discuss ongoing efforts in my group exploring topological- and strongly-interacting- phases of light. I will begin with our observation of photonic Landau levels in curved space, created by trapping light in twisted (non-planar) optical cavities, and culminating in the first measurement of the mean orbital spin of integer Hall state, a normally-inaccessible topological quantum number, along with a direct measurement of the Chern number using Kitaev’s real-space formalism. I will then discuss our recent demonstration of colliding cavity Rydberg polaritons, plus ongoing efforts to load the polaritons into a twisted cavity to create Laughlin states. I will conclude by summarizing a collaboration with the Schuster lab where we have recently created both a photonic Chern insulator and a dissipatively stabilized photonic Mott insulator.