Photons in a box and ‘Schrödinger Cats’ of light

Apr 30, 2015

Abstract:The founders of quantum physics used to analyse “thought experiments”, to discuss state superposition, complementarity and entanglement. They imagined manipulating single particles, such as electrons, atoms or photons; they would be surprised to see that experiments with isolated atoms, molecules or photons are now carried on in many laboratories throughout the world. In our Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics (CQED) studies, we stabilize and count photon number states in the cavity. We also prepare and reconstruct photonic superposition states suspended between different ‘classical realities’, generating a laboratory version of Schrödinger famous ‘Cat’, which he had imagined to be simultaneously
dead and alive. We have also investigated the decoherence process, which explains the transition between the quantum and the classical worlds. CQED
physics has recently been extended to artificial ‘atoms’ made from superconductors, in a new domain of mesoscopic physics called “Circuit QED”. This development opens the way to applications in quantum information science.Speaker:
Serge Haroche
Collège de France, Paris
Distinguished Visiting Professor, Peter Wall InstituteNobel Laureate (2012)
Hebb Theatre 2045 East Mall, University of British Columbia