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Nat Commun. 2017 Jan 25;8:14144. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14144.

Super-Coulombic atom-atom interactions in hyperbolic media.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2V4.
Birck Nanotechnology Center and Purdue Quantum Center, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, 1205 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906, USA.


Dipole-dipole interactions, which govern phenomena such as cooperative Lamb shifts, superradiant decay rates, Van der Waals forces and resonance energy transfer rates, are conventionally limited to the Coulombic near-field. Here we reveal a class of real-photon and virtual-photon long-range quantum electrodynamic interactions that have a singularity in media with hyperbolic dispersion. The singularity in the dipole-dipole coupling, referred to as a super-Coulombic interaction, is a result of an effective interaction distance that goes to zero in the ideal limit irrespective of the physical distance. We investigate the entire landscape of atom-atom interactions in hyperbolic media confirming the giant long-range enhancement. We also propose multiple experimental platforms to verify our predicted effect with phonon-polaritonic hexagonal boron nitride, plasmonic super-lattices and hyperbolic meta-surfaces as well. Our work paves the way for the control of cold atoms above hyperbolic meta-surfaces and the study of many-body physics with hyperbolic media.

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