November 2014
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Day November 24, 2014

Singular Mapping for a PT-Symmetric Sinusoidal Optical Lattice at the Symmetry-Breaking Threshold

H. F. Jones

A popular PT-symmetric optical potential (variation of the refractive index) that supports a variety of interesting and unusual phenomena is the imaginary exponential, the limiting case of the potential \(V_0[\cos(2\pi x/a)+i\lambda\sin(2\pi x/a)]\) as \(\lambda\to1\), the symmetry-breaking point. For \(\lambda<1\), when the spectrum is entirely real, there is a well-known mapping by a similarity transformation to an equivalent Hermitian potential. However, as \(\lambda\to1\), the spectrum, while remaining real, contains Jordan blocks in which eigenvalues and the corresponding eigenfunctions coincide. In this limit the similarity transformation becomes singular. Nonetheless, we show that the mapping from the original potential to its Hermitian counterpart can still be implemented; however, the inverse mapping breaks down. We also illuminate the role of Jordan associated functions in the original problem, showing that they map onto eigenfunctions in the associated Hermitian problem.
Optics (physics.optics); Mathematical Physics (math-ph); Quantum Physics (quant-ph)