Quantum optical effective-medium theory and transformation quantum optics for metamaterials

Martijn Wubs (Invited author), Ehsan Amooghorban (Invited author), Jingjing Zhang (Invited author), N. Asger Mortensen (Invited author)

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While typically designed to manipulate classical light, metamaterials have many potential applications for quantum optics as well. We argue why a quantum optical effective-medium theory is needed. We present such a theory for layered metamaterials that is valid for light propagation in all spatial directions, thereby generalizing earlier work for one-dimensional propagation. In contrast to classical effective-medium theory there is an additional effective parameter that describes quantum noise. Our results for metamaterials are based on a rather general Lagrangian theory for the quantum electrodynamics of media with both loss and gain. In the second part of this paper, we present a new application of transformation optics whereby local spontaneous-emission rates of quantum emitters can be designed. This follows from an analysis how electromagnetic Green functions transform under coordinate transformations. Spontaneous-emission rates can be either enhanced or suppressed using invisibility cloaks or gradient index lenses. Furthermore, the anisotropic material pro file of the cloak enables the directional control of spontaneous emission.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Number of pages9
PublisherSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2016
Article number99180P
ISBN (Print)9781510602274
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventMetamaterials, Metadevices, and Metasystems 2016: SPIE Conference 9818 - San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 28 Aug 20161 Sep 2016


ConferenceMetamaterials, Metadevices, and Metasystems 2016
LocationSan Diego Convention Center
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
SeriesProceedings of S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic electronic or print reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


  • Metamaterials
  • Quantum electrodynamics
  • Effective-medium theory
  • Quantum noise
  • Transformation optics
  • Green tensor
  • Spontaneous emission


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