What is it about?

Quantum vortices are typical structure of superfluids, Bose Einstein condensates or optical beams. In them the field is rotating around the centre at the typical frequency of the wavefunction. We have put the centre to one of these vortices into an ultrafast rotation itself inside a microcavity device. It is resembling an ultrafast and tiny swirling tornado made of polaritons, the mixed waves of photons and electronic excitons.

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Why is it important?

The vortex motion is due to an interplay of the spatially varying phase and the Rabi frequency. The Rabi oscillations are typical in strongly coupled multicomponent condensates. In optical terms, it is equivalent to an effect of interference between the normal modes of the structure. The double spiraling motion of the vortex centre can achieve diverging velocities when far from the initial centre. The associated linear and angular momentum of the emitted light is oscillating too. The dynamics can be described in terms of a fundamental homeomorphism (bijection), the stereographic mapping between the Bloch sphere of the polariton state and the real space where the observation is made. These effects can shed light also to hidden levels of topology.


The investigation of such vector texture in 2D and 3D spaces allow to identify beautiful underlying links with topological concepts, such as the Berry curvature, and have new intuitions on already known structures and forces, or even to think about new interpretations.

Dr Lorenzo Dominici
CNR NANOTEC, Institute of Nanotechnology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Full-Bloch beams and ultrafast Rabi-rotating vortices, Physical Review Research, January 2021, American Physical Society (APS), DOI: 10.1103/physrevresearch.3.013007.
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