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  1. Abstract

    Techniques to mold the flow of light on subwavelength scales enable fundamentally new optical systems and device applications. The realization of programmable, active optical systems with fast, tunable components is among the outstanding challenges in the field. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a few-pixel beam steering device based on electrostatic gate control of excitons in an atomically thin semiconductor with strong light-matter interactions. By combining the high reflectivity of a MoSe2monolayer with a graphene split-gate geometry, we shape the wavefront phase profile to achieve continuously tunable beam deflection with a range of 10°, two-dimensional beam steering, and switching times down to 1.6 nanoseconds. Our approach opens the door for a new class of atomically thin optical systems, such as rapidly switchable beam arrays and quantum metasurfaces operating at their fundamental thickness limit.

  2. Abstract

    In WSe2monolayers, strain has been used to control the energy of excitons, induce funneling, and realize single-photon sources. Here, we developed a technique for probing the dynamics of free excitons in nanoscale strain landscapes in such monolayers. A nanosculpted tapered optical fiber is used to simultaneously generate strain and probe the near-field optical response of WSe2monolayers at 5 K. When the monolayer is pushed by the fiber, its lowest energy states shift by as much as 390 meV (>20% of the bandgap of a WSe2monolayer). Polarization and lifetime measurements of these red-shifting peaks indicate they originate from dark excitons. We conclude free dark excitons are funneled to high-strain regions during their long lifetime and are the principal participants in drift and diffusion at cryogenic temperatures. This insight supports proposals on the origin of single-photon sources in WSe2and demonstrates a route towards exciton traps for exciton condensation.

  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. We introduce a new theoretical approach for analyzing pump and probe experiments in non-linear systems of optical phonons. In our approach, the effect of coherently pumped polaritons is modeled as providing time-periodic modulation of the system parameters. Within this framework, propagation of the probe pulse is described by the Floquet version of Maxwell’s equations and leads to phenomena such as frequency mixing and resonant parametric production of polariton pairs. We analyze light reflection from a slab of insulating material with a strongly excited phonon-polariton mode and obtain analytic expressions for the frequency-dependent reflection coefficient for the probe pulse. Our results are in agreement with recent experiments by Cartella et al. [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 115, 12148 (2018)], which demonstrated light amplification in a resonantly excited SiC insulator. We show that, beyond a critical pumping strength, such systems should exhibit Floquet parametric instability, which corresponds to resonant scattering of pump polaritons into pairs of finite momentum polaritons. We find that the parametric instability should be achievable in SiC using current experimental techniques and discuss its signatures, including the non-analytic frequency dependence of the reflection coefficient and the probe pulse afterglow. We discuss possible applications of the parametric instabilitymore »phenomenon and suggest that similar types of instabilities can be present in other photoexcited non-linear systems.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 7, 2023
  7. Realizing quantum speedup for practically relevant, computationally hard problems is a central challenge in quantum information science. Using Rydberg atom arrays with up to 289 qubits in two spatial dimensions, we experimentally investigate quantum algorithms for solving the Maximum Independent Set problem. We use a hardware-efficient encoding associated with Rydberg blockade, realize closed-loop optimization to test several variational algorithms, and subsequently apply them to systematically explore a class of graphs with programmable connectivity. We find the problem hardness is controlled by the solution degeneracy and number of local minima, and experimentally benchmark the quantum algorithm’s performance against classical simulated annealing. On the hardest graphs, we observe a superlinear quantum speedup in finding exact solutions in the deep circuit regime and analyze its origins.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
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