A combination of electron spin interactions in a magnetic field allows us to control the resonance frequencies of a high-Q whispering-gallery (WG) cavity mode doublet, resulting in precise measurements of an avoided crossing between the two modes comprising the doublet. We show that the resonant photons effectively behave as spin-12 particles and that the physical origins of the doublet phenomenon arise from an energy splitting between the states of photon spin angular momentum. The exclusive role of the photon spin in splitting the mode frequency is emphasized, and we demonstrate that the gyrotropic and anisotropic properties of the crystalline media supporting the WG mode lead to strong coupling between the bosonic and the spin degrees of freedom of cavity photons. Despite the demonstrated similarities to Jaynes-Cummings-type systems, the mode doublet system exhibits a significant difference due to its linearity. Unlike traditional experiments dealing with interactions between fields and matter, here the crystalline medium plays a role of macroscopic symmetry breaking, assisting in the strong coupling between these photon degrees of freedom. Such a regime is demonstrated experimentally with a method to effectively control the photon spin state. Our experiments demonstrate controllable time-reversal symmetry breaking in a high-Q cavity. © 2014 American Physical Society.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 13 Jan 2014|