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Exotic Photonic Molecules via Lennard-Jones-like Potentials

TitleExotic Photonic Molecules via Lennard-Jones-like Potentials
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsP. Bienias, M. J. Gullans, M. Kalinowski, A. N. Craddock, D. P. Ornelas-Huerta, S.. L. Rolston, , and
JournalPhys. Rev. Lett.
Volume125
Pagination093601
Date PublishedAUG 26
Type of ArticleArticle
ISSN0031-9007
Abstract

Ultracold systems offer an unprecedented level of control of interactions between atoms. An important challenge is to achieve a similar level of control of the interactions between photons. Towards this goal, we propose a realization of a novel Lennard-Jones-like potential between photons coupled to the Rydberg states via electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT). This potential is achieved by tuning Rydberg states to a Forster resonance with other Rydberg states. We consider few-body problems in 1D and 2D geometries and show the existence of self-bound clusters ({''}molecules{''}) of photons. We demonstrate that for a few-body problem, the multibody interactions have a significant impact on the geometry of the molecular ground state. This leads to phenomena without counterparts in conventional systems: For example, three photons in two dimensions preferentially arrange themselves in a line configuration rather than in an equilateral-triangle configuration. Our result opens a new avenue for studies of many-body phenomena with strongly interacting photons.

DOI10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.093601