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Feb 12, 2020

Strong optical coupling through superfluid Brillouin lasing

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Brillouin scattering has applications ranging from signal processing1,2, sensing3 and microscopy4 to quantum information5 and fundamental science6,7. Most of these applications rely on the electrostrictive interaction between light and phonons3,7,8. Here we show that in liquids optically induced surface deformations can provide an alternative and far stronger interaction. This allows the demonstration of ultralow-threshold Brillouin lasing and strong phonon-mediated optical coupling. This form of strong coupling is a key capability for Brillouin-reconfigurable optical switches and circuits9,10, for photonic quantum interfaces11 and to generate synthetic electromagnetic fields12,13. While applicable to liquids quite generally, our demonstration uses superfluid helium. Configured as a Brillouin gyroscope14 this provides the prospect of measuring superfluid circulation with unprecedented precision, and exploring the rich physics of quantum fluid dynamics, from quantized vorticity to quantum turbulence15,16.

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