Strong Light–Matter Coupling as a New Tool for Molecular and Material Engineering: Quantum Approach

Branko Kolaric, Bjorn Maes, Koen Clays, Thomas Durt, Yves Caudano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When atoms come together and bond, these new states are called molecules and their properties determine many aspects of our daily life. Strangely enough, it is conceivable for light and molecules to bond, creating new hybrid light–matter states with far-reaching consequences for these strongly coupled materials. Even stranger, there is no “real” light needed to obtain the effects; it simply appears from the vacuum, creating “something from nothing.” Surprisingly, the setup required to create these materials has become moderately straightforward. In its simplest form, one only needs to put a strongly absorbing material at the appropriate place between two mirrors, and quantum magic can appear. Only recently has it been discovered that strong coupling can affect a host of significant effects at a material and molecular level, which were thought to be independent of the “light” environment: phase transitions, conductivity, chemical reactions, etc. This review addresses the fundamentals of this opportunity: the quantum mechanical foundations, the relevant plasmonic and photonic structures, and a description of the various applications, connecting material chemistry with quantum information, entanglement, nonlinear optics, and chemical reactivity. Ultimately, revealing the interplay between light and matter in this new regime opens attractive avenues for various new technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1800001
Number of pages16
JournalAdvanced Quantum Technologies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2018


  • cond-mat.mtrl-sci
  • physics.optics
  • quant-ph
  • nanophysics
  • polaritons
  • plasmonics
  • quantum optics
  • quantum technology
  • quantum entanglement
  • strong coupling
  • photonics


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