Selective enhancement of topologically induced interface states

C. Poli, M. Bellec, U.Kuhl, F. Mortessagne, H. Schomerus

An attractive mechanism to induce robust spatially confined states utilizes interfaces between regions with topologically distinct gapped band structures. For electromagnetic waves, this mechanism can be realized in two dimensions by breaking symmetries in analogy to the quantum Hall effect or by employing analogies to the quantum spin Hall effect, while in one dimension it can be obtained by geometric lattice modulation. Induced by the presence of the interface, a topologically protected, exponentially confined state appears in the middle of the band gap. The intrinsic robustness of such states raises the question whether their properties can be controlled and modified independently of the other states in the system. Here, we draw on concepts from passive non-hermitian parity-time (PT)-symmetry to demonstrate the selective control and enhancement of a topologically induced state in a one-dimensional microwave set-up. In particular, we show that the state can be isolated from losses that affect all other modes in the system, which enhances its visibility in the temporal evolution of a pulse. The intrinsic robustness of the state to structural disorder persists in the presence of the losses. The combination of concepts from topology and non-hermitian symmetry is a promising addition to the set of design tools for optical structures with novel functionality.
Optics (physics.optics); Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics (cond-mat.mes-hall)

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