Deterministic quantum nonlinear optics with single atoms and virtual photons
AbstractWe show how analogs of a large number of well-known nonlinear-optics phenomena can be realized with one or more two-level atoms coupled to one or more resonator modes. Through higher-order processes, where virtual photons are created and annihilated, an effective deterministic coupling between two states of such a system can be created. In this way, analogs of three-wave mixing, four-wave mixing, higher-harmonic and -subharmonic generation (i.e., up- and down-conversion), multiphoton absorption, parametric amplification, Raman and hyper-Raman scattering, the Kerr effect, and other nonlinear processes can be realized. In contrast to most conventional implementations of nonlinear optics, these analogs can reach unit efficiency, only use a minimal number of photons (they do not require any strong external drive), and do not require more than two atomic levels. The strength of the effective coupling in our proposed setups becomes weaker the more intermediate transition steps are needed. However, given the recent experimental progress in ultrastrong light-matter coupling and improvement of coherence times for engineered quantum systems, especially in the field of circuit quantum electrodynamics, we estimate that many of these nonlinear-optics analogs can be realized with currently available technology.