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Inelastic Scattering of a Photon by a Quantum Phase Slip

TitleInelastic Scattering of a Photon by a Quantum Phase Slip
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsR.. Kuzmin, N.. Grabon, N.. Mehta, A.. Burshtein, M.. Goldstein, M.. Houzet, , and V.. E. Manucharyan
JournalPhys. Rev. Lett.
Date PublishedMAY 12
Type of ArticleArticle

Spontaneous decay of a single photon is a notoriously inefficient process in nature irrespective of the frequency range. We report that a quantum phase-slip fluctuation in high-impedance super-conducting waveguides can split a single incident microwave photon into a large number of lower-energy photons with a near unit probability. The underlying inelastic photon-photon interaction has no analogs in nonlinear optics. Instead, the measured decay rates are explained without adjustable parameters in the framework of a new model of a quantum impurity in a Luttinger liquid. Our result connects circuit quantum electrodynamics to critical phenomena in two-dimensional boundary quantum field theories, important in the physics of strongly correlated systems. The photon lifetime data represent a rare example of verified and useful quantum many-body simulation.