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Subradiance-protected excitation transport

Needham, Jemma A.; Lesanovsky, Igor; Olmos, Beatriz


Jemma A. Needham


We explore excitation transport within a one-dimensional chain of atoms where the atomic transition dipoles are coupled to the free radiation field. When the atoms are separated by distances smaller or comparable to the wavelength of the transition, the exchange of virtual photons leads to the transport of the excitation through the lattice. Even though this is a strongly dissipative system, we find that the transport is subradiant, that is, the excitation lifetime is orders of magnitude longer than the one of an individual atom. In particular, we show that a subspace of the spectrum is formed by subradiant states with a linear dispersion relation, which allows for the dispersionless transport of wave packets over long distances with virtually zero decay rate. Moreover, the group velocity and direction of the transport can be controlled via an external uniform magnetic field while preserving its subradiant character. The simplicity and versatility of this system, together with the robustness of subradiance against disorder, makes it relevant for a range of applications such as lossless energy transport and long-time light storage.


Needham, J. A., Lesanovsky, I., & Olmos, B. (2019). Subradiance-protected excitation transport. New Journal of Physics, 21(7),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 30, 2019
Publication Date 2019-07
Deposit Date Jul 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 5, 2019
Journal New Journal of Physics
Electronic ISSN 1367-2630
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 7
Article Number 073061
Keywords General Physics and Astronomy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Journal title: New Journal of Physics; Article type: paper; Article title: Subradiance-protected excitation transport; Copyright information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd on behalf of the Institute of Physics and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft; License information: cc-by Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.; Date received: 2019-05-13; Date accepted: 2019-07-12; Online publication date: 2019-07-30


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