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Coherent transport of light in dense atomic clouds

Grant number: 18/23873-3
Support type:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: July 01, 2019 - June 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics
Principal Investigator:Raul Celistrino Teixeira
Grantee:Raul Celistrino Teixeira
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Philippe Wilhelm Courteille ; Romain Pierre Marcel Bachelard

Abstract

The scattering of light by diluted matter can be described as a classical wave diffusion phenomenon. The constructive interference of different multiple scattering paths cause deviations from the purely diffusive behavior, that grows bigger with decreasing mean free path, until a complete halt of diffusion beyond the localization threshold: this is known as Anderson localization, already verified for acoustic and matter waves in all dimensionalities, and for light waves in 1D and 2D samples. Recently, the 3D localization of light has been questioned, and it is now a common view that it should not happen in absence of strong magnetic fields, precluded by the short-range terms of the scattered electric field that open new polarization channels for the light to escape the sample. This project aims at investigating the 3D scattering of light in the dense regime by an ensemble of cold, isotropic atoms, in order to experimentally access signatures of the absence of localization and of the emerging effective short-range interaction. The measurement of modifications of the universal behavior of the sub- and superradiance as a function of the optical depth of the sample, of statistical correlations on the scattered light, and of the saturation of the optical depth for dense samples constitute the main experimental challenges of this project. A parallel theoretical work will lead us to establish better models, ideas and methods about the up-to-now largely unexplored regime of scattering of vectorial waves by dense samples. (AU)