Institut für Physik - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Max-Born-Institut

R. Roman-Ancheyta, I. Ramos-Prieto, A. Perez-Leija, K. Busch, and R. de J- Leon-Montiel (2017)

Physical Review A 96:032501

We theoretically investigate the dynamical Casimir effect in a single-mode cavity endowed with a driven off-resonant mirror. We explore the dynamics of photon generation as a function of the ratio between the cavity mode and the mirror’s driving frequency. Interestingly, we find that this ratio defines a threshold—which we referred to as a metal-insulator phase transition—between exponential growth and low photon production. The low photon production is due to Bloch-like oscillations that produce a strong localization of the initial vacuum state, thus preventing higher generation of photons. To break localization of the vacuum state and enhance the photon generation, we impose a dephasing mechanism, based on dynamic disorder, into the driving frequency of the mirror. Additionally, we explore the effects of finite temperature on the photon production. Concurrently, we propose a classical analog of the dynamical Casimir effect in engineered photonic lattices, where the propagation of classical light emulates the photon generation from the quantum vacuum of a single-mode tunable cavity.