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Journal Article

Quantum Electrodynamic Control of Matter: Cavity-Enhanced Ferroelectric Phase Transition


Cavalleri,  A.
Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford;
Quantum Condensed Matter Dynamics, Condensed Matter Dynamics Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

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Ashida, Y., Imamoglu, A., Faist, J., Jaksch, D., Cavalleri, A., & Demler, E. (2020). Quantum Electrodynamic Control of Matter: Cavity-Enhanced Ferroelectric Phase Transition. Physical Review X, 10(4): 041027. doi:10.1103/PhysRevX.10.041027.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-FE4E-7
The light-matter interaction can be utilized to qualitatively alter physical properties of materials. Recent theoretical and experimental studies have explored this possibility of controlling matter by light based on driving many-body systems via strong classical electromagnetic radiation, leading to a time-dependent Hamiltonian for electronic or lattice degrees of freedom. To avoid inevitable heating, pump-probe setups with ultrashort laser pulses have so far been used to study transient light-induced modifications in materials. Here, we pursue yet another direction of controlling quantum matter by modifying quantum fluctuations of its electromagnetic environment. In contrast to earlier proposals on light-enhanced electron-electron interactions, we consider a dipolar quantum many-body system embedded in a cavity composed of metal mirrors and formulate a theoretical framework to manipulate its equilibrium properties on the basis of quantum light-matter interaction. We analyze hybridization of different types of the fundamental excitations, including dipolar phonons, cavity photons, and plasmons in metal mirrors, arising from the cavity confinement in the regime of strong light-matter interaction. This hybridization qualitatively alters the nature of the collective excitations and can be used to selectively control energy-level structures in a wide range of platforms. Most notably, in quantum paraelectrics, we show that the cavity-induced softening of infrared optical phonons enhances the ferroelectric phase in comparison with the bulk materials. Our findings suggest an intriguing possibility of inducing a superradiant-type transition via the light-matter coupling without external pumping. We also discuss possible applications of the cavity-induced modifications in collective excitations to molecular materials and excitonic devices.