Nonlinear tuning of PT symmetry and non-Hermitian topological states

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Science  02 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6537, pp. 72-76
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf6873

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Nonlinear control of topology

Controlling the topological properties of physical systems provides a platform for developing devices and technology that are robust to defects. Xia et al. present a photonic platform in which the underlying dynamics are driven and tuned by the interplay among topology, non-Hermiticity, and nonlinearity (see the Perspective by Roztocki and Morandotti). Using photonic lattices consisting of laser-written waveguides that are continuous (“gain”) and sectioned (“loss”) and coupled to an interface defect, they demonstrate the nonlinear control of parity-time symmetry and nonlinearity-induced restoration and/or destruction of non-Hermitian topological states. Such concepts are applicable to a broad spectrum of non-Hermitian systems that have intensity-dependent gain or loss and may enable new approaches for light manipulation.

Science, this issue p. 72; see also p. 32

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