Probing the quantum vacuum with an artificial atom in front of a mirror
Journal article, 2015

Quantum fluctuations of the vacuum are both a surprising and fundamental phenomenon of nature. Understood as virtual photons, they still have a very real impact, for instance, in the Casimir effects and the lifetimes of atoms. Engineering vacuum fluctuations is therefore becoming increasingly important to emerging technologies. Here, we shape vacuum fluctuations using a superconducting circuit analogue of a mirror, creating regions in space where they are suppressed. Moving an artificial atom through these regions and measuring the spontaneous emission lifetime of the atom provides us with the spectral density of the vacuum fluctuations. Using the paradigm of waveguide quantum electrodynamics, we significantly improve over previous studies of the interaction of an atom with its mirror image, observing a spectral density as low as 0.02 quanta, a factor of 50 below the mirrorless result. This demonstrates that we can hide the atom from the vacuum, even though it is exposed in free space.

Author

Io Chun Hoi

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Quantum Device Physics

Anton Frisk Kockum

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Applied Quantum Physics

Lars Tornberg

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Applied Quantum Physics

Arsalan Pourkabirian

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Microwave Electronics

Göran Johansson

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Applied Quantum Physics

Per Delsing

Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Quantum Device Physics

Christopher Wilson

University of Waterloo

Nature Physics

1745-2473 (ISSN)

Vol. 11 12 1045-1049

Areas of Advance

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Subject Categories

Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics

DOI

10.1038/NPHYS3484

More information

Created

10/7/2017