Photon blockade is the result of the interplay between the quantized nature of light and strong optical nonlinearities, whereby strong photon-photon repulsion prevents a quantum optical system from absorbing multiple photons. We theoretically study a single atom coupled to the light field, described by the resonantly driven Jaynes--Cummings model, in which case the photon blockade breaks down in a second order phase transition at a critical drive strength. We show that this transition is associated to the spontaneous breaking of an anti-unitary PT-symmetry. Within a semiclassical approximation we calculate the expectation values of observables in the steady state. We then move beyond the semiclassical approximation and approach the critical point from the disordered (blockaded) phase by reducing the Lindblad quantum master equation to a classical rate equation that we solve. The width of the steady-state distribution in Fock space is found to diverge as we approach the critical point with a simple power-law, allowing us to calculate the critical scaling of steady state observables without invoking mean-field theory. We propose a simple physical toy model for biased diffusion in the space of occupation numbers, which captures the universal properties of the steady state. We list several experimental platforms where this phenomenon may be observed.

}, url = {https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.05593}, author = {Jonathan B. Curtis and Igor Boettcher and Jeremy T. Young and Mohammad F. Maghrebi and Howard Carmichael and Alexey V. Gorshkov and Michael Foss-Feig} } @article {2497, title = {Quantum Simulation of Hyperbolic Space with Circuit Quantum Electrodynamics: From Graphs to Geometry}, year = {2019}, month = {2019/10/27}, abstract = {We show how quantum many-body systems on hyperbolic lattices with nearest-neighbor hopping and local interactions can be mapped onto quantum field theories in continuous negatively curved space. The underlying lattices have recently been realized experimentally with superconducting resonators and therefore allow for a table-top quantum simulation of quantum physics in curved background. Our mapping provides a computational tool to determine observables of the discrete system even for large lattices, where exact diagonalization fails. As an application and proof of principle we quantitatively reproduce the ground state energy, spectral gap, and correlation functions of the noninteracting lattice system by means of analytic formulas on the Poincar{\'e} disk, and show how conformal symmetry emerges for large lattices. This sets the stage for studying interactions and disorder on hyperbolic graphs in the future. Our analysis also reveals in which sense discrete hyperbolic lattices emulate the continuous geometry of negatively curved space and thus can be used to resolve fundamental open problems at the interface of interacting many-body systems, quantum field theory in curved space, and quantum gravity.

}, url = {https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.12318}, author = {Igor Boettcher and Przemyslaw Bienias and Ron Belyansky and Alicia J. Koll{\'a}r and Alexey V. Gorshkov} }