Networks of coupled nonlinear optical resonators offer unprecedented opportunities for exploring novel phases of strongly correlated light and matter with potential applications to simulation, computation, and optoelectronics. In this talk, I will discuss the nonlinear and quantum physics of the fundamental building-blocks of such networks: single and coupled nonlinear optical resonators.
First I will discuss the steady-state and dynamical behavior of nonlinear optical resonators influenced by quantum fluctuations. I will present measurements of dynamic hysteresis and stochastic trajectories of light in a microcavity. I will explain how to measure and control the reaction time of a nonlinear microcavity across arbitrarily long time scales using light. This control allows us to probe adiabatic and non-adiabatic dynamics of photons across a wide range of time scales by tuning the microcavities and/or a driving laser.
In the second part of the talk, I will introduce the experimental platforms we are currently developing at AMOLF, and the perspectives that these open for exploring phase transitions of interacting photons in tunable multicavity systems. I will map an array of bistable cavities to an Ising model, and I will discuss perspectives for solving challenging problems in combinatorial optimization with stochastic (quantum) optical hardware.