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Polaritonic nonlocality in light–matter interaction
Nature Photonics  (IF38.771),  Pub Date : 2021-08-09, DOI: 10.1038/s41566-021-00854-3
Rajabali, Shima, Cortese, Erika, Beck, Mattias, De Liberato, Simone, Faist, Jérôme, Scalari, Giacomo

Subwavelength electromagnetic field localization has been central to photonic research in the last decade, allowing us to enhance sensing capabilities as well as increase the coupling between photons and material excitations. The strong and ultrastrong light–matter coupling regime in the terahertz range using split-ring resonators coupled to magnetoplasmons has been widely investigated, achieving successive world records for the largest light–matter coupling ever achieved. Ever shrinking resonators have allowed us to approach the regime of few-electron strong coupling, in which single-dipole properties can be modified by the vacuum field. Here, we demonstrate, theoretically and experimentally, the existence of a limit to the possibility of arbitrarily increasing electromagnetic confinement in polaritonic systems. Strongly subwavelength fields can excite a continuum of high-momenta propagative magnetoplasmons. This leads to peculiar nonlocal polaritonic effects, as certain polaritonic features disappear and the system enters the regime of discrete-to-continuum strong coupling.