Topological Quantum Matter Seminar
Speaker: Jérôme Faist (ETH Zurich)
Title: Vacuum fluctuations in cavities: breakdown of the topological protection in the integer Quantum Hall effect
Abstract: When a collection of electronic excitations are strongly coupled to a single mode cavity, mixed light-matter excitations called polaritons are created. The situation is especially interesting when the strength of the light-matter coupling ΩR is such that the coupling energy becomes close to the one of the bare matter resonance ω0. For this value of parameters, the system enters the so-called ultra-strong coupling regime, in which a number of very interesting physical effects were predicted caused by the counter-rotating and diamagnetic terms of the Hamiltonian.
In a microcavity, the strength of the electric field caused by the vacuum fluctuations, to which the strength of the light-matter coupling ΩR is proportional, scales inversely with the cavity volume. One very interesting feature of the circuit-based metamaterials is the fact that this volume can be scaled down to deep subwavelength values in all three dimension of space.1 Using metamaterial coupled to two-dimensional electron gases under a strong applied magnetic field, we have now explored to which extend this volume can be scaled down and reached a regime where the stability of the polariton is limited by diffraction into a continuum of plasmon modes2.
We have also used transport to probe the ultra-strong light-matter coupling3, and show now that the latter can induce a breakdown of the integer quantum Hall effect4. The phenomenon is explained in terms of cavity-assisted hopping, an anti-resonant process where an electron can scatter from one edge of the sample to the other by “borrowing” a photon from the cavity5. We are also evaluating a proposal suggesting that the value of the quantization voltage can be renormalized by the cavity6.
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- Rajabali, S. et al. Polaritonic Nonlocality in Light Matter Interaction. Nat Photon 15, 690–695 (2021).
- Paravicini-Bagliani, G. L. et al. Magneto-Transport Controlled by Landau Polariton States. Nat. Phys. 15, 186–190 (2019).
- Appugliese, F. et al. Breakdown of topological protection by cavity vacuum fields in the integer quantum Hall effect. Science 375, 1030–1034 (2022).
- Ciuti, C. Cavity-mediated electron hopping in disordered quantum Hall systems. Phys. Rev. B 104, 155307 (2021).
- Rokaj, V., Penz, M., Sentef, M. A., Ruggenthaler, M. & Rubio, A. Polaritonic Hofstadter butterfly and cavity control of the quantized Hall conductance. Phys. Rev. B 105, 205424 (2022).