The dynamical Casimir effect (DCE) predicts the generation of photons from the vacuum due to the parametric amplification of the quantum fluctuations of an electromagnetic field. The verification of such an effect is still elusive in optical systems due to the very demanding requirements of its experimental implementation. We show that an ensemble of two-level atoms collectively coupled to the electromagnetic field of a cavity, driven at low frequencies and close to a quantum phase transition, stimulates the production of photons from the vacuum. This paves the way to an effective simulation of the DCE through a mechanism that has recently found experimental demonstration. The spectral properties of the emitted radiation reflect the critical nature of the system and allow us to link the detection of the DCE to the Kibble-Zurek mechanism for the production of defects when crossing a continuous phase transition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
Vacanti, G., Pugnetti, S., Didier, N., Paternostro, M., Palma, M., Fazio, R., & Vedral, V. (2012). Photon Production from the Vacuum Close to the Superradiant Transition: Linking the Dynamical Casimir Effect to the Kibble-Zurek Mechanism. Physical Review Letters, 108(9), 093603. . https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.093603