Henning Schomerus, Nicole Yunger Halpern

We describe the formation of highly degenerate, Landau-level-like amplified states in a strained photonic honeycomb lattice in which amplification breaks the sublattice symmetry. As a consequence of the parity anomaly, the zeroth Landau level is localized on a single sublattice and possesses an enhanced or reduced amplification rate. The spectral properties of the higher Landau levels are constrained by a generalized time-reversal symmetry. In the setting of two-dimensional photonic crystal lasers, the anomaly directly affects the mode selection and lasing threshold while in three-dimensional photonic lattices it can be probed via beam dynamics.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.2901

Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics (cond-mat.mes-hall); Optics (physics.optics)

Alois Regensburger, Christoph Bersch, Mohammad-Ali Miri, Georgy Onishchukov, Demetrios N. Christodoulides, Ulf Peschel

The development of new artificial structures and materials is today one of the major research challenges in optics. In most studies so far, the design of such structures has been based on the judicious manipulation of their refractive index properties. Recently, the prospect of simultaneously using gain and loss was suggested as a new way of achieving optical behaviour that is at present unattainable with standard arrangements. What facilitated these quests is the recently developed notion of ‘parity–time symmetry’ in optical systems, which allows a controlled interplay between gain and loss. Here we report the experimental observation of light transport in large-scale temporal lattices that are parity–time symmetric. In addition, we demonstrate that periodic structures respecting this symmetry can act as unidirectional invisible media when operated near their exceptional points. Our experimental results represent a step in the application of concepts from parity–time symmetry to a new generation of multifunctional optical devices and networks.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11298

Christopher Birchall, Henning Schomerus

We formulate gaussian and circular random-matrix models representing a coupled system consisting of an absorbing and an amplifying resonator, which are mutually related by a generalized time-reversal symmetry. Motivated by optical realizations of such systems we consider a PT or a PTT’ time-reversal symmetry, which impose different constraints on magneto-optical effects, and then focus on five common settings. For each of these, we determine the eigenvalue distribution in the complex plane in the short-wavelength limit, which reveals that the fraction of real eigenvalues among all eigenvalues in the spectrum vanishes if all classical scales are kept fixed. Numerically, we find that the transition from real to complex eigenvalues in the various ensembles display a different dependence on the coupling strength between the two resonators. These differences can be linked to the level spacing statistics in the hermitian limit of the considered models.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.2575

Quantum Physics (quant-ph); Disordered Systems and Neural Networks (cond-mat.dis-nn); Optics (physics.optics)