Li Ge, Y. D. Chong, A. D. Stone

We analyze the optical properties of one-dimensional (1D) PT-symmetric structures of arbitrary complexity. These structures violate normal unitarity (photon flux conservation) but are shown to satisfy generalized unitarity relations, which relate the elements of the scattering matrix and lead to a conservation relation in terms of the transmittance and (left and right) reflectances. One implication of this relation is that there exist anisotropic transmission resonances in PT-symmetric systems, frequencies at which there is unit transmission and zero reflection, but only for waves incident from a single side. The spatial profile of these transmission resonances is symmetric, and they can occur even at PT-symmetry breaking points. The general conservation relations can be utilized as an experimental signature of the presence of PT-symmetry and of PT-symmetry breaking transitions. The uniqueness of PT-symmetry breaking transitions of the scattering matrix is briefly discussed by comparing to the corresponding non-Hermitian Hamiltonians.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.5167

Optics (physics.optics)