Superabsorption of light via quantum engineering

K. D. B. Higgins*, S. C. Benjamin, T. M. Stace, G. J. Milburn, B. W. Lovett, E. M. Gauger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Almost 60 years ago Dicke introduced the term superradiance to describe a signature quantum effect: N atoms can collectively emit light at a rate proportional to N-2. Structures that superradiate must also have enhanced absorption, but the former always dominates in natural systems. Here we show that this restriction can be overcome by combining several well-established quantum control techniques. Our analytical and numerical calculations show that superabsorption can then be achieved and sustained in certain simple nanostructures, by trapping the system in a highly excited state through transition rate engineering. This opens the prospect of a new class of quantum nanotechnology with potential applications including photon detection and light-based power transmission. An array of quantum dots or a molecular ring structure could provide a suitable platform for an experimental demonstration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4705
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014




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