We suggest a simple approach to populate photonic quantum materials at nonzero chemical potential and near-zero temperature. Taking inspiration from forced evaporation in cold-atom experiments, the essential ingredients for our low-entropy thermal reservoir are (a) interparticle interactions and (b) energy-dependent loss. The resulting thermal reservoir may then be coupled to a broad class of Hamiltonian systems to produce low-entropy quantum phases. We present an idealized picture of such a reservoir, deriving the scaling of reservoir entropy with system parameters, and then propose several practical implementations using only standard circuit quantum electrodynamics tools, and extract the fundamental performance limits. Finally, we explore, both analytically and numerically, the coupling of such a thermalizer to the paradigmatic Bose-Hubbard chain, where we employ it to stabilize an n=1 Mott phase. In this case, the performance is limited by the interplay of dynamically arrested thermalization of the Mott insulator and finite heat capacity of the thermalizer, characterized by its repumping rate. This work explores an approach to preparation of quantum phases of strongly interacting photons, and provides a potential route to topologically protected phases that are difficult to reach through adiabatic evolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics