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Keywords:

  • cavity quantum electrodynamics;
  • energy landscape;
  • hybrid light–matter states;
  • strong coupling;
  • vacuum field
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Electromagnetic vacuum fields are omnipresent in our universe, inducing many events such as spontaneous emission, Lamb shift, and Van der Waals forces. As demonstrated here, a chemical reaction can be influenced by strongly coupling the energy landscape governing the reaction pathway to vacuum fields in an optical cavity (see picture; MC=merocyanine).