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Paraxial fluid of light in hot atomic vapors

Abstract : Quantum fluids of light are the photonic counterpart of Bose gases. They currently attract increasing interest since they are versatile and highly tunable systems for probing many-body physics quantum phenomena, such as superfluidity. Superfluid flow of light has already been reported in microcavity exciton-polariton condensates but clear observation of this phenomenon in cavityless systems, that is, for propagating photon fluids, remains elusive. In this thesis, we study the hydrodynamical properties of light propagating close to resonance in hot rubidium vapors. Whereas photons in air are not interacting with each other, the situation is different in rubidium vapors, as an effective interaction between them, mediated by the atomic ensemble, appears. The light behaves therefore as a fluid flowing in the plane perpendicular to the optical axis. The primary purpose of this thesis was to show that light in those systems can behave as a superfluid. The first step toward the observation of superfluidity is to measure the dispersion relation of small amplitude density waves travelling onto the propagating photon fluid. I show that this dispersion exhibits a linear trend for small excitation wave-vectors, which is, according to the Landau criterion, a sufficient condition for guaranteeing superfluidity. I present then an all-optical defect experiment - where the photon fluid flows against an optically induced obstacle (namely, a local change of refractive index) - designed to measure the drag force cancellation at the fluid/superfluid threshold.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 25, 2021 - 4:28:43 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 6, 2021 - 4:22:01 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03402487, version 1


Quentin Fontaine. Paraxial fluid of light in hot atomic vapors. Optics [physics.optics]. Sorbonne Université, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020SORUS160⟩. ⟨tel-03402487⟩



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