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Photonic cavities provide a way to enhance interactions between dipoles. A new theoretical and experimental analysis provides design rules for optimizing this enhancement at microwave frequencies.

Imaging energy transfer between dipole antennas inside a photonic cavity

Light can be trapped inside a cavity made by two mirrors, thus concentrating the light intensity and enhancing interactions between light and matter. Among the different applications of these photonic cavities, much attention is now focused on their ability to control the energy exchange between quantum emitters such as atoms, molecules, and quantum dots. Attempts to improve this exchange have been hampered by experimental difficulties in controlling the positions, orientations, and spectra of the emitter’s dipoles. Here, we thoroughly characterize dipole-dipole energy transfer inside a photonic cavity, and provide design rules for cavity-enhanced applications.

At the nanoscale, the energy transfer between two light-sensitive elements is primarily governed by a dipole-dipole interaction described by a mathematical formalism known as Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). We developed a general methodology to analyze FRET at microwave frequencies. While previous research has focused on optical frequencies, microwave experiments allow us to measure energy transfer with a high degree of control over dipole orientation and position. We then test our framework by investigating the energy transfer between two microwave antennas inside a photonic cavity and derived the conditions that enhance the transfer.

Our methodology bridges the gap between quantum electrodynamics and microwave engineering descriptions of dipole-dipole interactions. Beyond the conceptual interest, this approach provides a practical tool to quantitatively characterize photonic devices with an enhanced dipole-dipole interaction and can be readily applied to map energy transfer inside complex photonic systems at ultrahigh resolutions.

Direct measurement of the energy transfer between dipole antennas inside a photonic cavity.

This research was conducted within the context of the International Associated Laboratory “ALPhFA : Associated Laboratory for Photonics between France and Australia”, and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 736937, from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) under grant agreement ANR-17-CE09-0026-01, and from Excellence Initiative of Aix-Marseille University - A*MIDEX, a French “Investissements d’Avenir” program.

- Read the article on the CNRS - INSIS website  :
« Une cartographie des transferts d’énergie dans les cavités optiques radiofréquences »

Reference :
K. Rustomji, M. Dubois, B. Kuhlmey, C. M. de Sterke, S. Enoch, R. Abdeddaim, J. Wenger, “Direct imaging of the energy transfer enhancement between two dipoles in a photonic cavity”, Physical Review X , march 2019

Contact : Redha Abdeddaim, Stefan Enoch and Jérôme Wenger