Tunable-range, photon-mediated atomic interactions in multimode cavity QED

Varun Vaidya, Yudan Guo, Ronen Kroeze, Kyle Ballantine, Alicia Kollár, Jonathan Mark James Keeling, Benjamin Lev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)


Optical cavity QED provides a platform with which to explore quantum many-body physics in driven-dissipative systems. Single-mode cavities provide strong, infinite-range photon-mediated interactions among intracavity atoms. However, these global all-to-all couplings are limiting from the perspective of exploring quantum many-body physics beyond the mean-field approximation. The present work demonstrates that local couplings can be created using multimode cavity QED. This is established through measurements of the threshold of a superradiant, self-organization phase transition versus atomic position. Specifically, we experimentally show that the interference of near-degenerate cavity modes leads to both a strong and {tunable-range} interaction between Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) trapped within the cavity. We exploit the symmetry of a confocal cavity to measure the interaction between real BECs and their virtual images without unwanted contributions arising from the merger of real BECs. Atom-atom coupling may be tuned from short range to long range. This capability paves the way toward future explorations of exotic, strongly correlated systems such as quantum liquid crystals and driven-dissipative spin glasses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number011002
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2018


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