Observation of the Bogoliubov Dispersion in a Fluid of Light

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Quantum fluids of light are a photonic counterpart to atomic Bose gases and are attracting increasing interest for probing many-body physics quantum phenomena such as superfluidity. Two different configurations are commonly used: the confined geometry where a nonlinear material is fixed inside an optical cavity and the propagating geometry where the propagation direction plays the role of an effective time for the system. The observation of the dispersion relation for elementary excitations in a photon fluid has proved to be a difficult task in both configurations with few experimental realizations. Here, we propose and implement a general method for measuring the excitations spectrum in a fluid of light, based on a group velocity measurement. We observe a Bogoliubov-like dispersion with a speed of sound scaling as the square root of the fluid density. This Letter demonstrates that a nonlinear system based on an atomic vapor pumped near resonance is a versatile and highly tunable platform to study quantum fluids of light.