2020-08-22 PIER Vol. 168, 15-23. doi:10.2528/PIER20070401

Superscattering of Light in Refractive-Index Near-Zero Environments

Chan Wang, Chao Qian, Hao Hu, Lian Shen, Zuo Jia Wang, Huaping Wang, Zhiwei Xu, Baile Zhang, Hongsheng Chen, and Xiao Lin

Enhancing the scattering of light from subwavelength structures is of both fundamental and practical significance. While the scattering cross section from each channel cannot exceed the single-channel limit, it is recently reported that the total cross section can far exceed this limit if one overlaps the contribution from many channels. Such a phenomenon about enhancing the scattering from subwavelength structures in free space is denoted as the superscattering in some literature. However, the scatterer in practical scenarios is not always in free space but may be embedded in environments with non-unity refractive index n. The influence of environments on the superscattering remains elusive. Here the superscattering from subwavelength structures in the isotropic environment with near-zero index are theoretically investigated. Importantly, a smaller n can lead to a larger total cross section for superscattering. The underlying mechanism is that a smaller n can give rise to a larger single-channel limit. Our work thus indicates that the scattering from subwavelength structures can be further enhanced if one simultaneously maximizes the single-channel limit and the contribution from many channels.

2020-08-20 PIER Vol. 168, 1-13. doi:10.2528/PIER20060301

Classical and Quantum Electromagnetic Interferences: What Is the Difference?

Dong-Yeop Na and Weng Cho Chew

The zeroing of second order correlation functions between output fields after interferences in a 50/50 beam splitter has been accepted decades-long in the quantum optics community as an indicator of the quantum nature of lights. But, a recent work [1] presented some notable discussions and experiments that classical electromagnetic fields can still exhibit the zero correlation under specific conditions. Here, we examine analytically classical and quantum electromagnetic field interferences in a 50/50 beam splitter in the context of the second order correlation function for various input conditions. Adopting the Heisenberg picture in quantum electromagnetics, we examine components of four-term interference terms in the numerator of second order correlation functions and elucidate their physical significance. As such, we reveal the fundamental difference between the classical and quantum interference as illustrated by the Hong-Ou-Mandel (HOM) effect. The quantum HOM effect is strongly associated with: (1) the commutator relation that does not have a classical analogue; (2) the property of Fock states needed to stipulate the one-photon quantum state of the system; and (3) a destructive wave interference effect. Here, (1) and (2) imply the indivisibility of a photon. On the contrary, the classical HOM effect requires the presence of two destructive wave interferences without the need to stipulate a quantum state.