On the level of single atoms and photons, the coupling between atoms and the electromagnetic field is typically very weak. By using a cavity to confine the field, the strength of this interaction can be increased by many orders of magnitude, to a point where it dominates over any dissipative process. This strong-coupling regime of cavity quantum electrodynamics has been reached for real atoms in optical cavities, and for artificial atoms in circuit quantum electrodynamics and quantum dot systems. A signature of strong coupling is the splitting of the cavity transmission peak into a pair of resolvable peaks when a single resonant atom is placed inside the cavity, an effect known as vacuum Rabi splitting. The circuit quantum electrodynamics architecture is ideally suited for going beyond this linear-response effect. Here, we show that increasing the drive power results in two unique nonlinear features in the transmitted heterodyne signal: the supersplitting of each vacuum Rabi peak into a doublet and the appearance of extra peaks with the characteristic spacing of the Jaynes-Cummings ladder. These findings constitute direct evidence for the coupling between the quantized microwave field and the anharmonic spectrum of a superconducting qubit acting as an artificial atom.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)