Nonexponential decay of a giant artificial atom

  1. Gustav Andersson,
  2. Baladitya Suri,
  3. Lingzhen Guo,
  4. Thomas Aref,
  5. and Per Delsing
In quantum optics, light-matter interaction has conventionally been studied using small atoms interacting with electromagnetic fields with wavelength several orders of magnitude larger than the atomic dimensions. In contrast, here we experimentally demonstrate the vastly different giant atom regime, where an artificial atom interacts with acoustic fields with wavelength several orders of magnitude smaller than the atomic dimensions. This is achieved by coupling a superconducting qubit to surface acoustic waves at two points with separation on the order of 100 wavelengths. This approach is comparable to controlling the radiation of an atom by attaching it to an antenna. The slow velocity of sound leads to a significant internal time-delay for the field to propagate across the giant atom, giving rise to non-Markovian dynamics. We demonstrate the non-Markovian character of the giant atom in the frequency spectrum as well as nonexponential relaxation in the time domain.

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