We investigate, experimentally and theoretically, the dynamics of a laser-driven cavity with noninstantaneous effective photon-photon interactions. Scanning the laser-cavity frequency detuning at different speeds across an optical bistability, we find a hysteresis area that is a nonmonotonic function of the speed. In the limit of fast scans comparable to the memory time of the interactions, we demonstrate that the hysteresis area decays following a universal power law with scaling exponent −1. We further demonstrate a regime of non-Markovian dynamics emerging from white noise. This regime is evidenced by peaked distributions of residence times in the metastable states of our system. Our results offer new perspectives for exploring the physics of scaling, universality, and metastability, in non-Markovian regimes using arrays of bistable optical cavities with low quality factors, driven by low laser powers, and at room temperature.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Interacting Photons

Geng, Z., Peters, K., Trichet, A. A. P., Malmir, K., Kolkowski, R., Smith, J. M., & Rodriguez, S. (2020). Universal Scaling in the Dynamic Hysteresis, and Non-Markovian Dynamics, of a Tunable Optical Cavity. Phys.Rev.Lett., 124(15), 153603: 1–7. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.124.153603