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SPECIAL AMO/QO Pizza Seminar

"The Role of the Vacuum Field in a Harmonic System"

Dr. Wayne Cheng-Wei Huang
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


In 1947, the precision measurement of Lamb and Retherford on the hyperfine spectrum of the hydrogen atom gave the first experimental evidence of the electromagnetic vacuum field. The interaction between matter and the vacuum field has since become an important topic in fundamental quantum electrodynamics.

In this presentation, I would like to discuss the excitation spectrum of a classical harmonic oscillator immersed in the vacuum field. Both our numerical simulation and perturbation analysis indicate that such a classical system produces the same results as its quantum counterpart. I will show some preliminary results on realizing the "non-classical states" within such a classical scheme. Namely, upon excitation the classical harmonic oscillator in vacuum field can display interesting dynamical properties that are analogous to a coherent state, a squeezed state, and a Schrodinger cat state in quantum optics.

These interesting results may prompt us to think more about the role of the vacuum field in various quantum experiments. If the vacuum field indeed plays an important role in various quantum mechanical phenomena, it may be reasonable to attempt affecting experimental outcomes by modifying the local vacuum field. With today’s nanotechnology, we suspect that it may be possible to engineer the vacuum field through the use of nanostructures or photonic crystal. As the local vacuum field is modified, the outcomes of quantum mechanical phenomena may be changed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013
IQSE 578, 12:30 noon
Mitchell Physics Building

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

(Pizza, salad, and soda to be served at 12:00 noon)

Host: Dr. Marlan O. Scully