Macroscopic phase coherence is one of the most remarkable manifestations of quantum mechanics, yet it seems to be theinevitable ground state of interacting many-body systems. In the last two decades, the familiar examples of superfluid He and conventional superconductors have been joined by exotic and high temperature superconductors, ultra-cold atomic gases, both bosonic and fermionic, and recently systems of excitons, magnons, and exciton-photon superpositions called polaritons, the subject of this talk. Engineering of optical microcavities make use of the mixing of electronic excitations with photons to create a composite boson called a polariton that has a very light mass, and recent experiments provide good evidence for a high-temperature Bose condensate. Polariton systems also offer an opportunity to use optical pumping to study quantum dynamics of a many body system outside equilibrium, in a new kind of cold atom laboratory.
Event Date and Time
103 Gore Hall
Dr. Peter Littlewood, Argonne National Laboratory