Microwave control of the interaction between two optical photons

Maxwell, D. and Szwer, D. J. and Paredes-Barato, D. and Busche, H. and Pritchard, J. D. and Gauguet, A. and Jones, M. P A and Adams, C. S. (2014) Microwave control of the interaction between two optical photons. Physical Review A, 89 (4). 043827. ISSN 1094-1622

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A microwave field is used to control the interaction between pairs of optical photons stored in highly excited collective states (Rydberg polaritons). We show that strong dipole-dipole interactions induced by the microwave field destroy the coherence of polariton modes with more than one Rydberg excitation. Consequently, single-polariton modes, which correspond to single stored photons, are preferentially retrieved from the sample. Measurements of the photon statistics of the retrieved light field also reveal nontrivial propagation dynamics of the interacting polaritons.