What lies ahead for topological photonic systems?

What lies ahead for topological photonic systems?

By Sean Kelley

A tantalizing problem for the field is demonstrating condensed-matter phenomena with interacting photons - studying many body interactions using topological properties. One solution is in using nonlinearities to emulate many body effects. Another proposal, from Andrew Houck, involves examining phase transitions in a cavity qed circuit. One problem in making many-body states is photon loss, addressed by Eliot Kapit. He offered a way to obtain strongly interacting bosons by using a primary lattice coupled to an auxiliary lattice of intentionally "bad" quits.

There was also a panel discussion aimed at determining the future of topological photonic systems.

Panel members Eugene Demler, Shanhui Fan, Andrew Houck, and Gennady Shvets, addressed two main questions: (1) Where is this field going in the next few years? (2) What will we have learned in 10-15 years?

In the next few years, the panel agreed that field will focus on:

  • Interactions at the single photon level.
  • Examining effects relevant for condensed matter.
  • Continuing to scale designs down to chip size.
  • Emulating many-body interactions using nonlinear effects, and to this end developing nonlinear tools.
  • Determining fundamental limits in the field.

In fifteen years, the hope is for:

  •  A much richer toolbox for analyzing open systems, complementary to the tools available in condensed matter.
  • New, very interesting tools for manipulating light.
  • An understanding of basic theoretical limits.

The meeting concluded with concluding remarks from host Jake Taylor. Was it a success? As Hakan Tureci put it, this was "one of the rare conferences where I learned a lot."

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Posted: 4 April 2014 by Sean Kelley

Tags: Incubator Topological Order, OSA Incubator, topological order