November 2011
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Day November 15, 2011

Classical Simulation of Relativistic Quantum Mechanics in Periodic Optical Structures

Stefano Longhi

Spatial and/or temporal propagation of light waves in periodic optical structures offers a rather unique possibility to realize in a purely classical setting the optical analogues of a wide variety of quantum phenomena rooted in relativistic wave equations. In this work a brief overview of a few optical analogues of relativistic quantum phenomena, based on either spatial light transport in engineered photonic lattices or on temporal pulse propagation in Bragg grating structures, is presented. Examples include spatial and temporal photonic analogues of the Zitterbewegung of a relativistic electron, Klein tunneling, vacuum decay and pair-production, the Dirac oscillator, the relativistic Kronig-Penney model, and optical realizations of non-Hermitian extensions of relativistic wave equations.
Optics (physics.optics)