Quantum self-organized criticality and nonequilibrium light localization
The astonishingly high speed of light is a real asset for modern optical-fiber networks, enabling real-time communications from one side of the Earth to the other. However, there are nowadays many important applications for which we would also like to ‘trap’ and ‘localize’ light in order to increase its interaction with matter.
Potential applications include ultrafast lasers requiring strong nonlinear light-matter interactions, or photovoltaics and light harvesting devices where light should not pass through the material quickly so that it can be efficiently absorbed and converted into electricity. Another application is for optical bio-sensing and diagnostic devises, in which light is used to identify and trace various chemical elements and should thus interact strongly with these elements.
The objective of this project is to introduce and thoroughly analyze a fundamentally new way of spatially localizing light, not aided by standard cavity (resonator) effects, but instead exhibiting a, so called, ‘phase transition’ which is a thermodynamically new ‘phase’ or state of light to localization. This new type of critical (in the statistical-physics meaning) light behavior will be enhanced and controlled by quantum effects, such as the quantum vacuum fluctuations, will exhibit self-organization and adaptation, while also remaining unharmed by such deleterious effects as dissipative losses, fluctuations and nonlinear interactions.
(Start date of fellowship: 1 August 2017)