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Quantum and nonlinear effects in light transmitted through planar atomic arrays.

Bettles, Robert J. and Lee, Mark D. and Gardiner, Simon A. and Ruostekoski, Janne (2020) 'Quantum and nonlinear effects in light transmitted through planar atomic arrays.', Communications physics., 3 (1). p. 141.


Understanding strong cooperative optical responses in dense and cold atomic ensembles is vital for fundamental science and emerging quantum technologies. Methodologies for characterizing light-induced quantum effects in such systems, however, are still lacking. Here we unambiguously identify significant quantum many-body effects, robust to position fluctuations and strong dipole–dipole interactions, in light scattered from planar atomic ensembles by comparing full quantum simulations with a semiclassical model neglecting quantum fluctuations. We find pronounced quantum effects at high atomic densities, light close to saturation intensity, and around subradiant resonances. Such conditions also maximize spin–spin correlations and entanglement between atoms, revealing the microscopic origin of light-induced quantum effects. In several regimes of interest, our approximate model reproduces light transmission remarkably well, permitting analysis of otherwise numerically inaccessible large ensembles, in which we observe many-body analogues of resonance power broadening, vacuum Rabi splitting, and significant suppression in cooperative reflection from atomic arrays.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:15 July 2020
Date deposited:26 August 2020
Date of first online publication:14 August 2020
Date first made open access:26 August 2020

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