Intermittent decoherence blockade
Lorenzo, Salvatore; Longhi, Stefano; Cabot, Albert; Zambrini, Roberta; Giorgi Gian Luca
It has long been recognized that emission of radiation from atoms is not an intrinsic property of individual atoms themselves, but it is largely affected by the characteristics of the photonic environment and by the collective interaction among the atoms. A general belief is that preventing full decay and/or decoherence requires the existence of dark states, ie, dressed light-atom states that do not decay despite the dissipative environment. Here, we show that, contrary to such a common wisdom, decoherence suppression can be intermittently achieved on a limited time scale, without the need for any dark state, when the atom is coupled to a chiral ring environment, leading to a highly non-exponential staircase decay. This effect, that we refer to as intermittent decoherence blockade, arises from periodic destructive interference between light emitted in the present and light emitted in the past, ie, from delayed coherent quantum feedback.