Optically contorting into new dimensions
Creating synthetic dimensions has generated interest in many branches of science, ranging from ultracold atomic physics to photonics. The ability to do so provides a versatile platform for realizing effective gauge potentials and novel topological physics that might be difficult or impossible to realize in real systems. Dutt et al. show that a structured optical ring cavity can sustain more than one synthetic dimension. Under modulation, coupling the different degrees of freedom within the resonator is used synthesize two additional dimensions. The authors are then able to emulate many complex physical phenomena usually associated with condensed matter systems.
Science, this issue p. 59
The concept of synthetic dimensions has generated interest in many branches of science, ranging from ultracold atomic physics to photonics, as it provides a versatile platform for realizing effective gauge potentials and topological physics. Previous experiments have augmented the real-space dimensionality by one additional physical synthetic dimension. In this study, we endow a single ring resonator with two independent physical synthetic dimensions. Our system consists of a temporally modulated ring resonator with spatial coupling between the clockwise and counterclockwise modes, creating a synthetic Hall ladder along the frequency and pseudospin degrees of freedom for photons propagating in the ring. We observe a wide variety of physics, including effective spin-orbit coupling, magnetic fields, spin-momentum locking, a Meissner-to-vortex phase transition, and signatures of topological chiral one-way edge currents, completely in synthetic dimensions. Our experiments demonstrate that higher-dimensional physics can be studied in simple systems by leveraging the concept of multiple simultaneous synthetic dimensions.
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