The quantum optics of metamaterials

Messinger, Anette (2021) The quantum optics of metamaterials. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The interaction of light and matter is a widely studied field in physics: Both quantum mechanical and classical effects have been treated to a large extent in theoretical studies but also in a wide range of experiments. One particularly interesting manifestation of such interactions are macroscopic materials with a linear response to the light field. This can be either a response due to the electric or due to the magnetic field, depending on the internal structure of the medium. However, the magnetic response is typically much weaker than the electric response and magnetic effects have been neglected in the majority of theoretical considerations.

The recently emerging field of metamaterials brings new possibilities of tailoring the electromagnetic properties of a medium, which gives rise to a class of materials with both electric and magnetic responses that have not been observed in naturally occurring materials - hence the name metamaterial.

For such materials the theories developed for purely dielectric media, materials with no magnetic response, do not hold anymore. The main goal of this thesis is to generalize electromagnetic theory, especially for the interaction of the light field with electric and magnetic dipoles, to arbitrary magneto-dielectric media. In particular, this includes lossy magnetic materials and biaxial anisotropic media, but also a general investigation of the nature of light-matter interactions from the magnetic point of view. Magnetic and electric effects are often treated very differently. It is my aim to show the similarities, and immense symmetry between them, and therefore always treat electric and magnetic effects side by side whenever possible, and wherever a theory is only properly derived for the electric quantities, I shall complement the magnetic analogies to fill these gaps.

The second part of this thesis covers another important aspect of light-matter interaction, the transfer of coherence between atoms and the electromagnetic field inside a cavity, which is of particular importance in the context of quantum thermodynamics and the resource theory of coherence. This work is not directly linked to the main body of the thesis, but builds on the same theoretical framework of light-matter interaction in the Jaynes-Cummings model. We examine the catalytic nature of quantum optical coherence, in particular, the degradation of a coherent state in the cavity as coherence is transferred to a sequence of atoms through a Jaynes-Cummings interaction. In comparison with an earlier, rather artificial proposal of the catalytic creation of coherence, we investigate the role of correlations and the robustness of this more natural protocol of coherence transfer.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the EPSRC scholarship program.
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Supervisor's Name: Barnett, Professor Stephen and Croke, Dr. Sarah
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82364
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 14:15
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 14:17
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82364

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