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Topological Robustness of Transport Statistics for Photons in a Synthetic Gauge Field



Sunil Mittal, Jingyun Fan, Sanli Faez, Alan L. Migdall, Jacob M. Taylor, Mohammad Hafezi


Electronic transport through a disordered medium leads generically to localization, where conductance drops exponentially with system size, even at zero temperature. The addition of gauge fields to disordered media leads to fundamental changes in transport properties of electrons. A hallmark example is the emergence of chiral edge states in two-dimensional systems with a strong perpendicular magnetic field [1]. Recently, it was proposed that gauge fields can be synthesized in photonic systems [2], and consequently, a number of proposals have followed with interesting approaches [3–5]. More importantly, it was predicted that a synthetic magnetic field leads to emergence of topologically robust edge states, in direct analogy to electronic systems. We show how such a photonic system with localized transport in the bulk achieves robust transport along its edge, similar to electronic topological insulators. Specifically, our approach implements a synthetic gauge field for photons to mimic a quantum Hall system and thereby exhibits topological edge states. By developing statistics over different devices, we can confirm the suppression of localization in edge states. Our system provides a new platform to investigate transport properties in the presence of gauge fields, which is important both from the fundamental perspective of studying photonic transport [6, 7] and for applications in classical and quantum information processing [8, 9].
Physical Review Letters


Photonics, Silicon Photonics, Quantum Simulation


Mittal, S. , Fan, J. , Faez, S. , Migdall, A. , Taylor, J. and Hafezi, M. (2014), Topological Robustness of Transport Statistics for Photons in a Synthetic Gauge Field, Physical Review Letters, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created August 20, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018