Quantum correlations in nanophotonics: from long-range dipole-dipole interactions to fundamental efficiency limits of coherent energy transfer
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Weng C. Chew
Committee Member 3
Committee Member 4
Quantum properties like coherence and entanglement can lead to enhanced performance characteristics in a wide range of applications including quantum computation, quantum memory storage, optical sensing, and energy harvesting. Entanglement is very sensitive to static and dynamical disorder. Similarly, the generation of highly-entangled states requires strong coupling or strong driving fields. Satisfying all of these requirements is generally quite difficult. In the first part of this thesis, we present an approach to overcome these limitations through the use of exotic light-matter states in hyperbolic media which provide a new approach to control quantum correlations and interatomic interactions. We reveal a class of excited-state, long-range interactions, referred to as Super-Coulombic interactions that are singular along a material-dependent resonance angle. In practical systems, the Super-Coulombic interaction achieves dipole-dipole coupling that is orders of magnitude larger than conventional approaches, while also occurring across a large frequency bandwidth making it robust to static energy-level disorder. This unique hyperbolic response is not only naturally occurring, found in materials like h-BN, BiTe2, BiSe2, and mono-layered black phosphorus, but can also be designed with artificial nanostructured materials (metamaterials) to create the desired hyperbolic dispersion across different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our theoretical prediction motivated an intense search for the effect and was confirmed by an experimental demonstration at room temperature. To obtain agreement with experimental results, we present a rigorous theoretical framework that takes into account ensemble effects, finite-sized effects, and dimensional effects that arise from confined geometries ultimately modifying the Super-Coulombic spatial scaling law.
In the second part of this thesis, we solve an outstanding theoretical problem dealing with the control of resonance energy transfer in nanophotonic environments in both the incoherent and coherent coupling limits. Resonance energy transfer is a fundamental process that is the subject of intense research across all sciences. For example, in chemistry for drug delivery and chemical monitoring, in engineering for photovoltatic and up-conversion devices, and in biology for exciton transport within photosynthetic complexes. First, we consider the disordered and weak coupling limit of resonance energy transfer often encountered in chemistry. We propose new design principles for enhancing and suppressing the energy transfer rate and efficiency quantitatively captured by a simple image dipole model. Our theory explains a wide range of experimental results which have been the subject of an ongoing debate for the past 15 years. Second, we present our recent result aimed at understanding the fundamental role of entanglement and quantum coherence in resonance energy transfer. To uncover the role of these effects, we develop a unified theory of energy transfer valid from the incoherent to quantum coherent coupling regimes. Ultimately, our theory reveals a fundamental bound ηmax = γa for energy transfer efficiency arising from γd+γa the spontaneous emission rates γd and γa of the donor and acceptor. This bound provides an upper limit to the efficiency of energy transfer regardless of quantum coherence or entanglement, suggesting new design principles for achieving near-unity energy transfer efficiency in coherent systems. The result has important implications for the two-chromophore model found in photosynthetic complexes and paves the way for nanophotonic analogues of efficiency-enhancing environments mimicking biological photosynthetic systems.
Cortes, Cristian L., "Quantum correlations in nanophotonics: from long-range dipole-dipole interactions to fundamental efficiency limits of coherent energy transfer" (2018). Open Access Dissertations. 1711.