Research ArticlePHYSICS

Ultralong relaxation times in bistable hybrid quantum systems

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Science Advances  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 12, e1701626
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701626


Nonlinear systems, whose outputs are not directly proportional to their inputs, are well known to exhibit many interesting and important phenomena that have profoundly changed our technological landscape over the last 50 years. Recently, the ability to engineer quantum metamaterials through hybridization has allowed us to explore these nonlinear effects in systems with no natural analog. We investigate amplitude bistability, which is one of the most fundamental nonlinear phenomena, in a hybrid system composed of a superconducting resonator inductively coupled to an ensemble of nitrogen-vacancy centers. One of the exciting properties of this spin system is its long spin lifetime, which is many orders of magnitude longer than other relevant time scales of the hybrid system. This allows us to dynamically explore this nonlinear regime of cavity quantum electrodynamics and demonstrate a critical slowing down of the cavity population on the order of several tens of thousands of seconds—a time scale much longer than observed so far for this effect. Our results provide a foundation for future quantum technologies based on nonlinear phenomena.

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