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Proceedings Paper

Subcycle quantum physics (Conference Presentation)

Paper Abstract

A time-domain approach to quantum electrodynamics is presented, covering the entire mid-infrared and terahertz frequency ranges. Ultrabroadband electro-optic sampling with few-femtosecond laser pulses allows direct detection of the vacuum fluctuations of the electric field in free space [1,2]. Besides the Planck and electric field fundamental constants, the variance of the ground state is determined solely by the inverse of the four-dimensional space-time volume over which a measurement or physical process integrates. Therefore, we can vary the contribution of multi-terahertz vacuum fluctuations and discriminate against the trivial shot noise due to the constant flux of near-infrared probe photons. Subcycle temporal resolution based on a nonlinear phase shift provides signals from purely virtual photons for accessing the ground-state wave function without amplification to finite intensity. Recently, we have succeeded in generation and analysis of mid-infrared squeezed transients with quantum noise patterns that are time-locked to the intensity envelope of the probe pulses. We find subcycle temporal positions with a noise level distinctly below the bare vacuum which serves as a direct reference. Delay times with increased differential noise indicate generation of highly correlated quantum fields by spontaneous parametric fluorescence. Our time-domain approach offers a generalized understanding of spontaneous emission processes as a consequence of local anomalies in the co-propagating reference frame modulating the quantum vacuum, in combination with the boundary conditions set by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. [1] C. Riek et al., Science 350, 420 (2015) [2] A. S. Moskalenko et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 263601 (2015)

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 April 2017
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 10102, Ultrafast Phenomena and Nanophotonics XXI, 1010216 (19 April 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2254953
Show Author Affiliations
Alfred Leitenstorfer, Univ. Konstanz (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10102:
Ultrafast Phenomena and Nanophotonics XXI
Markus Betz; Abdulhakem Y. Elezzabi, Editor(s)

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