Ramy El-Ganainy, Mercedeh Khajavikhan, Li Ge

We investigate the rich physics of photonic molecule lasers using a non-Hermitian dimer model. We show that several interesting features, predicted recently using a rigorous steady state ab-initio laser theory (SALT), can be captured by this toy model. In particular, we demonstrate the central role played by exceptional points in both pump-selective lasing and laser self-terminations phenomena. Due to its transparent mathematical structure, our model provides a lucid understanding for how different physical parameters (optical loss, modal coupling between microcavities and pump profiles) affect the lasing action. Interestingly, our analysis also confirms that, for frequency mismatched cavities, operation in the proximity of exceptional points (without actually crossing the square root singularities) can still lead to laser self-termination. We confirm this latter prediction for two coupled slab cavities using scattering matrix analysis and SALT technique. In addition, we employ our model to investigate the pump-controlled lasing action and we show that emission patterns are governed by the locations of exceptional points in the gain parameter space. Finally we extend these results to multi-cavity photonic molecules, where we found the existence of higher-order EPs and pump-induced localization.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.1242

Optics (physics.optics)

Li Ge, A. Douglas Stone

We consider the role of degeneracy in Parity-Time (PT) symmetry breaking for non-hermitian wave equations beyond one dimension. We show that if the spectrum is degenerate in the absence of T-breaking, and T is broken in a generic manner (without preserving other discrete symmetries), then the standard PT-symmetry breaking transition does not occur, meaning that the spectrum is complex even for infinitesimal strength of gain and loss. However the reality of the entire spectrum can be preserved over a finite interval if additional discrete symmetries X are imposed when T is broken, if X decouple all degenerate modes. When this is true only for a subset of the degenerate spectrum, there can be a partial PT transition in which this subset remains real over a finite interval of T-breaking. If the spectrum has odd-degeneracy, a fraction of the degenerate spectrum can remain in the symmetric phase even without imposing additional discrete symmetries, and they are analogous to dark states in atomic physics. These results are illustrated by the example of different T-breaking perturbations of a uniform dielectric disk and sphere. Finally, we show that multimode coupling is capable of restoring the PT-symmetric phase at finite T-breaking. We also analyze these questions when the parity operator is replaced by another spatial symmetry operator and find that the behavior can be qualitatively different.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.0428

Quantum Physics (quant-ph); Optics (physics.optics)