Nonreciprocal lasing in topological cavities of arbitrary geometries

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Science  12 Oct 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4551

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Resonant cavities are essential building blocks governing many wave based phenomena, and, their geometry together with reciprocity, fundamentally limit the integration of optical devices. We report, at telecommunication wavelengths, geometry-independent and integrated nonreciprocal topological cavities that couple stimulated emission from one-way photonic edge states to a selected waveguide output with an isolation ratio in excess of 10 dB. Nonreciprocity originates from unidirectional edge states at the boundary between photonic structures with distinct topological invariants. Our experimental demonstration of lasing from topological cavities provides the opportunity to develop complex topological circuitry of arbitrary geometries for the integrated and robust generation and transport of photons in classical and quantum regimes.

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