We study the collective decay of two-level emitters coupled to a nonlinear waveguide, for example, a nanophotonic lattice or a superconducting resonator array with strong photon-photon interactions. Under these conditions, a new decay channel into bound photon pairs emerges, through which spatial correlations between emitters are established by regular interference as well as interactions between the photons. We derive an effective Markovian theory to model the resulting decay dynamics of an arbitrary distribution of emitters and identify collective effects beyond the usual phenomena of super- and subradiance. Specifically, in the limit of many close-by emitters, we find that the system undergoes a supercorrelated decay process where all the emitters are either in the excited state or in the ground state but not in any of the intermediate states. The predicted effects can be probed in state-of-the-art waveguide QED experiments and provide a striking example of how the dynamics of open quantum systems can be modified by many-body effects in a nonharmonic environment.
- photon-photon interactions
- Markovian theory
- superconducting quantum optics
- nonlinear waveguides