Single-photon nonlinearity at room temperature
The recent progress in nanotechnology1,2 and single-molecule spectroscopy3–5 paves the way for emergent cost-effective organic quantum optical technologies with potential applications in useful devices operating at ambient conditions. We harness a π-conjugated ladder-type polymer strongly coupled to a microcavity forming hybrid light–matter states, so-called exciton-polaritons, to create exciton-polariton condensates with quantum fluid properties. Obeying Bose statistics, exciton-polaritons exhibit an extreme nonlinearity when undergoing bosonic stimulation6, which we have managed to trigger at the single-photon level, thereby providing an efficient way for all-optical ultrafast control over the macroscopic condensate wavefunction. Here, we utilize stable excitons dressed with high-energy molecular vibrations, allowing for single-photon nonlinear operation at ambient conditions. This opens new horizons for practical implementations like sub-picosecond switching, amplification and all-optical logic at the fundamental quantum limit.