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Making Matter from Light: Mott Insulators, Superfluids and Topological Fluids


In this talk I will discuss ongoing work in my group exploring matter made of light. I will begin with a broad introduction to the challenges associated with making matter from photons focusing specifically (1) how to trap photons and imbue them with mass and charge (2) how to induce photons to collide with one another and (3) how to drive these interacting photons to make materials. I will provide as examples two state-of-the-art photonic quantum matter platforms: microwave photons coupled to superconducting resonators & transmon qubits, and optical photons trapped in multimode optical cavities and made to interact through Rydberg-dressing. In each case I will describe a synthetic materials created in that platform: crystals/fluids of microwave photons created by reservoir engineering and adiabatic tuning, and a Laughlin molecule of optical photons prepared by scattering photons through a topological cavity.

Bio: Jon graduated from Montgomery Blair HS in 2000; Caltech in 2004, and MIT/Harvard in 2010; he was faculty at the University of Chicago from 2012-2022 in Physics, the James Franck Institute, and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, and is now faculty at Stanford in Physics and Applied Physics. Jon loves to fly drones, kitesurf, ride his electric skateboard, and grapple. He is a cat afficionado and a very amateur chess player. If you want to make a cool robot, he's probably game; if it's a space robot, even better.

Making Matter from Light: Mott Insulators, Superfluids and Topological Fluids
Host: Aephraim Steinberg
Event series  Physics Colloquium