Robust Light State by Quantum Phase Transition in Non-Hermitian Optical Materials.
ABSTRACT: Robust light transport is the heart of optical information processing, leading to the search for robust light states by topological engineering of material properties. Here, it is shown that quantum phase transition, rather than topology, can be strategically exploited to design a novel robust light state. We consider an interface between parity-time (PT) symmetric media with different quantum phases and use complex Berry phase to reveal the associated quantum phase transition and topological nature. While the system possesses the same topological order within different quantum phases, phase transition from PT symmetry to PT breaking across the interface in the synthetic non-Hermitian metamaterial system facilitates novel interface states, which are robust against a variety of gain/loss perturbations and topological impurities and disorder. The discovery of the robust light state by quantum phase transition may promise fault-tolerant light transport in optical communications and computing.
Project description:Zero-energy particles (such as Majorana fermions) are newly predicted quasiparticles and are expected to play an important role in fault-tolerant quantum computation. In conventional Hermitian quantum systems, however, such zero states are vulnerable and even become vanishing if couplings with surroundings are of the same topological nature. Here we demonstrate a robust photonic zero mode sustained by a spatial non-Hermitian phase transition in a parity-time (PT) symmetric lattice, despite the same topological order across the entire system. The non-Hermitian-enhanced topological protection ensures the reemergence of the zero mode at the phase transition interface when the two semi-lattices under different PT phases are decoupled effectively in their real spectra. Residing at the midgap level of the PT symmetric spectrum, the zero mode is topologically protected against topological disorder. We experimentally validated the robustness of the zero-energy mode by ultrafast heterodyne measurements of light transport dynamics in a silicon waveguide lattice.
Project description:We identify dynamic topological phenomena such as dynamic Chern numbers and dynamic quantum phase transitions in quantum quenches of the non-Hermitian Su-Schrieffer-Heeger Hamiltonian with parity-time (PT) symmetry. Their occurrences in the non-unitary dynamics are intimately connected with fixed points in the Brillouin zone, where the density matrices do not evolve in time. Based on our theoretical formalism characterizing topological properties of non-unitary dynamics, we prove the existence of fixed points for quenches between distinct static topological phases in the PT-symmetry-preserving regime, thus unveiling the interplay between dynamic topological phenomena and PT symmetry. Interestingly, non-Hermiticity of the driving Hamiltonian gives rise to rich dynamic topological phenomena which are different, either qualitatively or quantitatively, from their counterparts in unitary dynamics. Our work sheds light on dynamic topological phenomena in open systems and is readily accessible in experiments.
Project description:We demonstrate the emergence of a topological ordered phase for non-Hermitian systems. Specifically, we elucidate that systems with non-Hermitian two-body interactions show a fractional quantum Hall (FQH) state. The non-Hermitian Hamiltonian is considered to be relevant to cold atoms with dissipation. We conclude the emergence of the non-Hermitian FQH state by the presence of the topological degeneracy and by the many-body Chern number for the ground state multiplet showing C<sub>tot</sub>?=?1. The robust topological degeneracy against non-Hermiticity arises from the manybody translational symmetry. Furthermore, we discover that the FQH state emerges without any repulsive interactions, which is attributed to a phenomenon reminiscent of the continuous quantum Zeno effect.
Project description:Combating the effects of disorder on light transport in micro- and nano-integrated photonic devices is of major importance from both fundamental and applied viewpoints. In ordinary waveguides, imperfections and disorder cause unwanted back-reflections, which hinder large-scale optical integration. Topological photonic structures, a new class of optical systems inspired by quantum Hall effect and topological insulators, can realize robust transport via topologically-protected unidirectional edge modes. Such waveguides are realized by the introduction of synthetic gauge fields for photons in a two-dimensional structure, which break time reversal symmetry and enable one-way guiding at the edge of the medium. Here we suggest a different route toward robust transport of light in lower-dimensional (1D) photonic lattices, in which time reversal symmetry is broken because of the non-Hermitian nature of transport. While a forward propagating mode in the lattice is amplified, the corresponding backward propagating mode is damped, thus resulting in an asymmetric transport insensitive to disorder or imperfections in the structure. Non-Hermitian asymmetric transport can occur in tight-binding lattices with an imaginary gauge field via a non-Hermitian delocalization transition, and in periodically-driven superlattices. The possibility to observe non-Hermitian delocalization is suggested using an engineered coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) structure.
Project description:Maxwell electromagnetism, describing the wave properties of light, was formulated 150 years ago. More than 60 years ago it was shown that interfaces between optical media (including dielectrics, metals, negative-index materials) can support surface electromagnetic waves, which now play crucial roles in plasmonics, metamaterials, and nano-photonics. Here we show that surface Maxwell waves at interfaces between homogeneous isotropic media described by real permittivities and permeabilities have a topological origin explained by the bulk-boundary correspondence. Importantly, the topological classification is determined by the helicity operator, which is generically non-Hermitian even in lossless optical media. The corresponding topological invariant, which determines the number of surface modes, is a [Formula: see text] number (or a pair of [Formula: see text] numbers) describing the winding of the complex helicity spectrum across the interface. Our theory provides a new twist and insights for several areas of wave physics: Maxwell electromagnetism, topological quantum states, non-Hermitian wave physics, and metamaterials.
Project description:The state of a quantum system, adiabatically driven in a cycle, may acquire a measurable phase depending only on the closed trajectory in parameter space. Such geometric phases are ubiquitous and also underline the physics of robust topological phenomena such as the quantum Hall effect. Equivalently, a geometric phase may be induced through a cyclic sequence of quantum measurements. We show that the application of a sequence of weak measurements renders the closed trajectories, hence the geometric phase, stochastic. We study the concomitant probability distribution and show that, when varying the measurement strength, the mapping between the measurement sequence and the geometric phase undergoes a topological transition. Our finding may impact measurement-induced control and manipulation of quantum states-a promising approach to quantum information processing. It also has repercussions on understanding the foundations of quantum measurement.
Project description:The topology of a topological material can be encoded in its surface states. These surface states can only be removed by a bulk topological quantum phase transition into a trivial phase. Here we use photoemission spectroscopy to image the formation of protected surface states in a topological insulator as we chemically tune the system through a topological transition. Surprisingly, we discover an exotic spin-momentum locked, gapped surface state in the trivial phase that shares many important properties with the actual topological surface state in anticipation of the change of topology. Using a spin-resolved measurement, we show that apart from a surface bandgap these states develop spin textures similar to the topological surface states well before the transition. Our results offer a general paradigm for understanding how surface states in topological phases arise from a quantum phase transition and are suggestive for the future realization of Weyl arcs, condensed matter supersymmetry and other fascinating phenomena in the vicinity of a quantum criticality.
Project description:We investigate the topological phase transitions in a two-dimensional time-reversal invariant topological superconductor in the presence of a Zeeman field. Based on the spin Chern number theory, we find that the system exhibits a number of topologically distinct phases with changing the out-of-plane component of the Zeeman field, including a quantum spin Hall-like phase, quantum anomalous Hall-like phases with total Chern number C = -2, -1, 1 and 2, and a topologically trivial superconductor phase. The BdG band gap closes at each boundary of the phase transitions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the zero bias conductance provides clear transport signatures of the different topological phases, which are robust against symmetry-breaking perturbations.
Project description:Topological phases are enriched in non-equilibrium open systems effectively described by non-Hermitian Hamiltonians. While several properties unique to non-Hermitian topological systems were uncovered, the fundamental role of symmetry in non-Hermitian physics has yet to be fully understood, and it has remained unclear how symmetry protects non-Hermitian topological phases. Here we show that two fundamental anti-unitary symmetries, time-reversal and particle-hole symmetries, are topologically equivalent in the complex energy plane and hence unified in non-Hermitian physics. A striking consequence of this symmetry unification is the emergence of unique non-equilibrium topological phases that have no counterparts in Hermitian systems. We illustrate this by presenting a non-Hermitian counterpart of the Majorana chain in an insulator with time-reversal symmetry and that of the quantum spin Hall insulator in a superconductor with particle-hole symmetry. Our work establishes a fundamental symmetry principle in non-Hermitian physics and paves the way towards a unified framework for non-equilibrium topological phases.
Project description:The quantum anomalous Hall effect has been theoretically predicted and experimentally verified in magnetic topological insulators. In addition, the surface states of these materials exhibit a hedgehoglike "spin" texture in momentum space. Here, we apply the previously formulated low-energy model for Bi2Se3, a parent compound for magnetic topological insulators, to a slab geometry in which an exchange field acts only within one of the surface layers. In this sample set up, the hedgehog transforms into a skyrmion texture beyond a critical exchange field. This critical field marks a transition between two topologically distinct phases. The topological phase transition takes place without energy gap closing at the Fermi level and leaves the transverse Hall conductance unchanged and quantized to e2/2h. The momentum-space skyrmion texture persists in a finite field range. It may find its realization in hybrid heterostructures with an interface between a three-dimensional topological insulator and a ferromagnetic insulator.