A Mean-Field Treatment of Vacuum Fluctuations in Strong Light-Matter Coupling

Ming Hsiu Hsieh, Alex Krotz, Roel Tempelaar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mean-field mixed quantum-classical dynamics could provide a much-needed means to inexpensively model quantum electrodynamical phenomena by describing the optical field and its vacuum fluctuations classically. However, this approach is known to suffer from an unphysical transfer of energy out of the vacuum fluctuations when the light-matter coupling becomes strong. We highlight this issue for the case of an atom in an optical cavity and resolve it by introducing an additional set of classical coordinates to specifically represent vacuum fluctuations whose light-matter interaction is scaled by the instantaneous ground-state population of the atom. This not only rigorously prevents the aforementioned unphysical energy transfer but is also shown to yield a radically improved accuracy in terms of the atomic population and the optical field dynamics, generating results in excellent agreement with full quantum calculations. As such, the resulting method emerges as an attractive solution for the affordable modeling of strong light-matter coupling phenomena involving macroscopic numbers of optical modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1253-1258
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 9 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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