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Strongly interacting photons

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Photons usually don't interact with each other. A grand long-term challenge that we try to solve in the quantum optics part of our research is to implement and study strongly interacting photons. In addition to making optical quantum computing and quantum communication more efficient, strongly interacting photons allow for increased precision in imaging and metrology, and also give rise to fascinating many-body physics (e.g. crystallization of photons or novel dissipative time-dependent phenomena). In fact, one could argue that this exciting new direction of many-body physics with strongly interacting photons is the future of quantum optics. One particularly promising approach to achieving strong photon-photon interactions is to use EIT (electromagnetically induced transparency) to couple photons to strongly interacting Rydberg (i.e. highly excited) atoms. Another promising approach involves guiding light and trapping atoms along tapered nanofibers or photonic crystal waveguides. Our  work demonstrating interactions between massive photons and showing evidence of two-photon bound states was published in Nature, featured by CNN, and chosen by Physics World as one of ten breakthroughs of 2013. 


Some recent examples of our work: