Research ArticlePHYSICS

Observation of long-range dipole-dipole interactions in hyperbolic metamaterials

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Science Advances  05 Oct 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 10, eaar5278
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5278


Dipole-dipole interactions (Vdd) between closely spaced atoms and molecules are related to real photon and virtual photon exchange between them and decrease in the near field connected with the characteristic Coulombic dipole field law. The control and modification of this marked scaling with distance have become a long-standing theme in quantum engineering since dipole-dipole interactions govern Van der Waals forces, collective Lamb shifts, atom blockade effects, and Förster resonance energy transfer. We show that metamaterials can fundamentally modify these interactions despite large physical separation between interacting quantum emitters. We demonstrate a two orders of magnitude increase in the near-field resonant dipole-dipole interactions at intermediate field distances (10 times the near field) and observe the distance scaling law consistent with a super-Coulombic interaction theory curtailed only by absorption and finite size effects of the metamaterial constituents. We develop a first-principles numerical approach of many-body dipole-dipole interactions in metamaterials to confirm our theoretical predictions and experimental observations. In marked distinction to existing approaches of engineering radiative interactions, our work paves the way for controlling long-range dipole-dipole interactions using hyperbolic metamaterials and natural hyperbolic two-dimensional materials.

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