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Department of Physics

Behind the veil of nothingness

Artistic rendition of the quantum vacuum disturbance © Christoph Lange​/​TU Dortmund

In close collaboration with the groups of Prof. Dr. Rupert Huber, Prof. Dr. Dominique Bougeard, and with Prof. Dr. Cristiano Ciuti (Université de Paris), we switched off deep-strong light-matter coupling much faster than a single cycle of light. Our breakthrough provides a very unusual glimpse behind the virtual photon dress of electrons, which helps unravelling the nature of vacuum fluctuations. In the future, even chemical reactions or superconductivity may be triggered merely by abrupt modification of the quantum vacuum.

The results are reported in Nature Photonics and are featured on the cover page of the November 2020 issue.