"Quantum nonlinear medium engineering with Rydberg polaritons"
Photons interact weakly in vacuum. Finding an optical medium that manifests optical nonlinearity at individual photon level is fascinating, as it opens the possibility to build up all-optical quantum devices, and form novel quantum many-body states of lights. In this talk, I will present our approach on engineering a quantum nonlinear medium with Rydberg polaritons; with this, strong mutual interactions between photons are realized. These interactions range from attraction to repulsion, which lead to the observation of emergent spatial structures of photons. Besides, we can build an ultrafast non-destructive Rydberg detector with this quantum nonlinear medium. This novel quantum detector can be implemented for a wide range of research, from quantum simulation to quantum computing.
Wenchao Xu is currently a postdoc associate working on a joint project led by Prof. Vladan Vuletic (MIT) and Prof. Misha Lukin (Harvard). Her research focuses on engineering a quantum nonlinear medium, with its property controlled by a combination of electromagnetically induced transparency effect and Rydberg-Rydberg interactions. Wenchao completed her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with Prof. Brian DeMarco. At UIUC, her research focused on investigating the dynamics of ultracold fermions trapped in optical lattices.