Non-equilibrium diagrammatic approach to strongly interacting photons

30 Oct 2018  ·  Johannes Lang, Darrick E. Chang, Francesco Piazza ·

We develop a non-equilibrium field-theoretical approach, based on a systematic diagrammatic expansion, for strongly interacting photons in optically dense atomic media. We consider the case where the characteristic photon-propagation range $L_P$ is much larger than the interatomic spacing $a$ and where the density of atomic excitations is low enough to neglect saturation effects... In the highly polarizable medium the photons experience nonlinearities through the interactions they inherit from the atoms. If the atom-atom interaction range $L_E$ is also large compared to $a$, we show that scattering processes with momentum transfer between photons are suppressed by a factor $a/L_E$. We are then able to perform a self-consistent resummation of a specific (Hartree-like) diagram subclass and obtain quantitative results in the highly non-perturbative regime of large single-atom cooperativity. Here we find important, conceptually new collective phenomena emerging due to the dissipative nature of the interactions, which even give rise to novel phase transitions. The robustness of these is investigated by inclusion of the leading corrections in $a/L_E$. We consider specific applications to photons propagating under EIT conditions along waveguides near atomic arrays as well as within Rydberg ensembles. read more

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Quantum Gases Statistical Mechanics Quantum Physics