Xueji Wang, Tyler Sentz, Sathwik Bharadwaj, Subir Kumar Ray, Yifan Wang, Dan Jiao, Limei Qi, and Zubin Jacob. 2/17/2023. Observation of nonvanishing optical helicity in thermal radiation from symmetry-broken metasurfaces. Science Advances, 9, 4.

Spinning thermal radiation is a unique phenomenon observed in condensed astronomical objects, including the Wolf-Rayet star EZ-CMa and the red degenerate star G99-47, due to the existence of strong magnetic fields. Here, by designing symmetry-broken metasurfaces, we demonstrate that spinning thermal radiation with a nonvanishing optical helicity can be realized even without applying a magnetic field. We design nonvanishing optical helicity by engineering a dispersionless band that emits omnidirectional spinning thermal radiation, where our design reaches 39% of the fundamental limit. Our results firmly suggest that metasurfaces can impart spin coherence in the incoherent radiation excited by thermal fluctuations. The symmetry-based design strategy also provides a general pathway for controlling thermal radiation in its temporal and spin coherence.

Adrian E. Rubio López, Ashwin K. Boddeti, Fanglin Bao, Hyunsoo Choi, and Zubin Jacob. 1/30/2023. Nonequilibrium Hanbury Brown-Twiss interferometry: Theory and application to binary stars. Physical Review Research, 5, 013057 .

Intensity interferometry based on Hanbury Brown and Twiss’s seminal experiment for determining the radius of the star Sirius formed the basis for developing the quantum theory of light. To date, the principle of this experiment is used in various forms across different fields of quantum optics, imaging, and astronomy. Although the technique is powerful, it has not been generalized for objects at different temperatures. Here, we address this problem using a generating functional formalism by employing the P-function representation of quantum-thermal light. Specifically, we investigate the photon coincidences of a system of two extended objects at different temperatures using this theoretical framework. We show two unique aspects in the second-order quantum coherence function: interference oscillations and a long-baseline asymptotic value that depends on the observation frequency, temperatures, and size of both objects. We apply our approach to the case of binary stars and discuss the advantages of measuring these two features in an experiment. In addition to the estimation of the radii of each star and the distance between them, we also show that the present approach is suitable for the estimation of temperatures as well. To this end, we apply it to the practical case of binary stars Luhman 16 and Spica α Vir. We find that for currently available telescopes, an experimental demonstration is feasible in the near term. Our work contributes to the fundamental understanding of intensity interferometry of quantum-thermal light and can be used as a tool for studying two-body thermal emitters, from binary stars to extended objects.

Xueji Wang, Ziyi Yang, Fanglin Bao, Tyler Sentz, and Zubin Jacob. 1/27/2023. Spinning Meta-Cam: Spectro-Polarimetric Long-wave Infrared Thermal Imaging based on Spinning Metasurfaces. arXiv.

Spectro-polarimetric imaging in the long-wave infrared (LWIR) region is a powerful tool for capturing temperature, material composition, and surface morphology information. However, current spectro-polarimetric LWIR imagers are often bulky and severely limited in spectral resolution and field of view (FOV). In this work, we present a new paradigm for spectro-polarimetric demultiplexing by combining large-area meta-optical devices and advanced computational imaging algorithms. We use the intrinsic dispersion and polarization modulation of anisotropic spinning metasurfaces to achieve simultaneous spectral and polarimetric resolution without the need for bulky filter wheels or interferometers. Our spinning-metasurface-based spectro-polarimetric module is robust, compact (< 10 x 10 x 10 cm), and has a wide field of view (25◦ ). Our approach represents a significant advancement in the field of thermal imaging, allowing for high-quality, information-rich thermal image data for a wide range of applications such as astronomical exploration, medical diagnosis, and agricultural monitoring.


Mohammad Ali Javidian, Vaneet Aggarwal, and Zubin Jacob. 12/19/2022. Quantum Causal Inference in the Presence of Hidden Common Causes: an Entropic Approach. Physical Review Applied, 106, 062425.

Quantum causality is an emerging field of study that has the potential to greatly advance our understanding of quantum systems. In this paper, we put forth a theoretical framework for merging quantum information science and causal inference by exploiting entropic principles. For this purpose, we leverage the tradeoff between the entropy of hidden cause and the conditional mutual information of observed variables to develop a scalable algorithmic approach for inferring causality in the presence of latent confounders (common causes) in quantum systems. As an application, we consider a system of three entangled qubits and transmit the second and third qubits over separate noisy quantum channels. In this model, we validate that the first qubit is a latent confounder and the common cause of the second and third qubits. In contrast, when two entangled qubits are prepared and one of them is sent over a noisy channel, there is no common confounder. We also demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms the results of classical causal inference for the Tubingen database when the variables are classical by exploiting quantum dependence between variables through density matrices rather than joint probability distributions. Thus, the proposed approach unifies classical and quantum causal inference in a principled way.

Xueji Wang and Zubin Jacob. 12/7/2022. Symmetry Breaking In Thermal Photonics. Light: Science & Applications.

Engineering symmetries in nanostructures and metasurfaces provides a new paradigm to control incoherent heat radiation for applications in energy conversion, thermal sources, infrared imaging, and radiative cooling.

Sathwik Bharadwaj, Todd Van Mechelen, and Zubin Jacob. 10/27/2022.

Picophotonics: Anomalous Atomistic Waves in Silicon

. Physical Review Applied, 18, 4.

The concept of photonic frequency-momentum (ω-q) dispersion has been extensively studied in artificial dielectric structures such as photonic crystals and metamaterials. However, the ω-q dispersion of electrodynamic waves hosted in natural materials at the atomistic level is far less explored. Here, we develop a Maxwell Hamiltonian theory of matter combined with the quantum theory of atomistic polarization to obtain the electrodynamic dispersion of natural materials interacting with the photon field. We apply this theory to silicon and discover the existence of anomalous atomistic waves. These waves occur in the spectral region where propagating waves are conventionally forbidden in a macroscopic theory. Our findings demonstrate that natural media can host a variety of yet to be discovered waves with subnanometer effective wavelengths in the picophotonics regime.

Cristian L. Cortes, Wenbo Sun, and Zubin Jacob. 9/15/2022.

Quantum analog of the maximum power transfer theorem

. Optics Express, 30, 20, Pp. 35840-35853.

We discover the quantum analog of the well-known classical maximum power transfer theorem. Our theoretical framework considers the continuous steady-state problem of coherent energy transfer through an N-node bosonic network coupled to an external dissipative load. We present an exact solution for optimal power transfer in the form of the maximum power transfer theorem known in the design of electrical circuits. Furthermore, we introduce the concept of quantum impedance matching with Thevenin equivalent networks, which are shown to be exact analogs to their classical counterparts. Our results are applicable to both ordered and disordered quantum networks with graph-like structures ranging from nearest-neighbor to all-to-all connectivities. This work points towards universal design principles adapting ideas from the classical regime to the quantum domain for various quantum optical applications in energy harvesting, wireless power transfer, and energy transduction.

Cristian L. Cortes, Wenbo Sun, and Zubin Jacob. 9/8/2022.

Fundamental efficiency bound for quantum coherent energy transfer in nanophotonics

. Optics Express, 30, 19, Pp. 34725-34739.

We derive a unified quantum theory of coherent and incoherent energy transfer between two atoms (donor and acceptor) valid in arbitrary Markovian nanophotonic environments. Our theory predicts a fundamental bound 𝜂𝑚𝑎𝑥=𝛾𝑎𝛾𝑑+𝛾𝑎ηmax=γaγd+γa for energy transfer efficiency arising from the spontaneous emission rates γd and γa of the donor and acceptor. We propose the control of the acceptor spontaneous emission rate as a new design principle for enhancing energy transfer efficiency. We predict an experiment using mirrors to enhance the efficiency bound by exploiting the dipole orientations of the donor and acceptor. Of fundamental interest, we show that while quantum coherence implies the ultimate efficiency bound has been reached, reaching the ultimate efficiency does not require quantum coherence. Our work paves the way towards nanophotonic analogues of efficiency-enhancing environments known in quantum biological systems.

P.Y. Chen, C. Khandekar, R. Ayash, and Zubin Jacob. 7/21/2022.

Thermal Emission of Spinning Photons from Temperature Gradients

. Physical Review Applied, 18, 1.

The fluctuational electrodynamic investigation of thermal radiation from nonequilibrium or nonisothermal bodies remains largely unexplored because it necessarily requires volume integration over the fluctuating currents inside the emitter, which quickly becomes computationally intractable. Here, we put forth a formalism combining fast calculations based on modal expansion and fluctuational electrodynamics to accelerate research at this frontier. We employ our formalism on a sample problem: a long silica wire held under temperature gradient within its cross section. We discover that the far-field thermal emission carries a nonzero spin, which is constant in direction and sign, and interestingly, is transverse to the direction of the power flow. We clearly establish the origin of this transverse spin as arising from the nonequilibrium intermixing of the cylindrical modes of the wire, and not from any previously studied or intuitively expected origins such as chiral or nonisotropic materials and geometries, magnetic materials or fields, and mechanical rotations. This finding of nonequilibrium spin texture of emitted heat radiation can prove useful for advancing the noninvasive thermal metrology or infrared-imaging techniques.

Farid Kalhor, Noah F. Opondo, Shoaib Mahmud, Leif Bauer, Li-Ping Yang, and Zubin Jacob. 6/29/2022.

Optically induced static magnetic field in the ensemble of nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond

. OSA Publishing, 47, 13, Pp. 3347-3350.

Generation of a local magnetic field at the nanoscale is desirable for many applications such as spin-qubit-based quantum memories. However, this is a challenge due to the slow decay of static magnetic fields. Here, we demonstrate a photonic spin density (PSD)-induced effective static magnetic field for an ensemble of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in bulk diamond. This locally induced magnetic field is a result of coherent interaction between the optical excitation and the NV centers. We demonstrate an optically induced spin rotation on the Bloch sphere exceeding 10 degrees which has potential applications in all-optical coherent control of spin qubits.