Photons are boring: they all move at one speed and do not interact with one another. I will present an unusual optical medium that is nonlinear at the quantum scale: In this medium, photons travel slowly, acquire mass, and exhibit strong mutual attraction, so strong that two photons can even form a two-body bound state. The medium can also be made to transmit one, but absorb two photons. This and other progress in the field enables novel quantum optical devices, such as a strongly interacting quantum gas of photons, an optical transistor gated by just one photon, or a device that can detect and count optical photons without destroying them.
Held Tuesdays at 4:15 pm, in the William R. Hewlett Teaching Center, room 200 (see map). Refreshments in the lobby of Varian Physics at 4:00 pm.
Autumn 2014/15, Committee: A. Linde (Chair), L. Hollberg, B. Macintosh & Young Lee