Nonequilibrium patterns in open systems are ubiquitous in nature, with examples as diverse as desert sand dunes, animal coat patterns such as zebra stripes, or geographic patterns in parasitic insect populations. A theoretical foundation that explains the basic features of a large class of patterns was given by Turing in the context of chemical reactions and the biological process of morphogenesis. Analogs of Turing patterns have also been studied in optical systems where diffusion of matter is replaced by diffraction of light. The unique features of polaritons in semiconductor microcavities allow us to go one step further and to study Turing patterns in an interacting coherent quantum fluid. We demonstrate formation and control of these patterns. We also demonstrate the promise of these quantum Turing patterns for applications, such as low-intensity ultra-fast all-optical switches.
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