A terahertz-driven non-equilibrium phase transition in a room temperature atomic vapour

Wade, C.G. and Marcuzzi, Matteo and Levi, Emanuele and Kondo, J.M. and Lesanovsky, Igor and Adams, C.S. and Weatherill, K.J. (2018) A terahertz-driven non-equilibrium phase transition in a room temperature atomic vapour. Nature Communications . ISSN 2041-1723 (In Press)

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Abstract

There are few demonstrated examples of phase transitions that may be driven directly by terahertz-frequency electric fields, and those that are known require field strengths exceeding 1 MVcm−1. Here we report a non-equilibrium phase transition driven by a weak ( 1 Vcm−1), continuous-wave terahertz electric field. The system consists of room-temperature caesium vapour under continuous optical excitation to a high-lying Rydberg state, which is resonantly coupled to a nearby level by the terahertz electric field. We use a simple model to understand the underlying physical behaviour, and we demonstrate two protocols to exploit the phase transition as a narrow-band terahertz detector: the first with a fast (20μs) nonlinear response to nano-Watts of incident radiation, and the second with a linearised response and effective noise equivalent power (NEP) ≤1 pWHz−1/2. The work opens the door to a new class of terahertz devices controlled with low field intensities and operating in a room-temperature environment.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: Lesanovsky, Igor
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 12:35
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 11:46
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/53234

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