Title: Scaling and universality in bistable optical cavities Speaker: Said Rodriguez AMOLF | Interacting Photons (Group Leader)
Abstract: Driven nonlinear dynamical systems can reside in two steady states at a single driving condition. This feature, known as bistability, is associated with emergent phenomena in phase transitions, scaling, and universal behavior. In descriptions of bistable systems, it is typically assumed that the nonlinear force responsible for bistability acts instantaneously on the system. In addition, the role of quantum fluctuations on bistability was until recently largely assumed to be irrelevant to experiments. In this talk, I will present two experiments where these two assumptions were challenged. Both of these experiments were based on nonlinear optical cavities driven by light, but similar physics is expected in other systems. The experiments we performed consisted of scanning a driving parameter (e.g. laser intensity or frequency) across an optical bistability at various speeds, and analyzing the resultant dynamic optical hysteresis. Intriguingly, both quantum fluctuations and non-instantaneous interactions lead to a universal power law decay of the hysteresis area as a function of the scanning speed. However, whereas quantum fluctuations lead to universal scaling behavior in the limit of slow scans, non-instantaneous interactions lead to a universal scaling behavior in the limit of fast scans. I will conclude with perspectives for realizing lattices of bistable optical cavities, and the opportunities that these open for performing analog computation and for studying stochastic nonlinear dynamics with light.