P.N. Dyachenko, S. Molesky, A., M. Sto¨rmer, T. Krekeler, S. Lang, M. Ritter, Z. Jacob, and M. Eich. 6/6/2016.

Controlling thermal emission with refractory epsilon-near-zero metamaterials via topological transitions

. Nature Communications, 7.

Control of thermal radiation at high temperatures is vital for waste heat recovery and for high-efficiency thermophotovoltaic (TPV) conversion. Previously, structural resonances utilizing gratings, thin film resonances, metasurfaces and photonic crystals were used to spectrally control thermal emission, often requiring lithographic structuring of the surface and causing significant angle dependence. In contrast, here, we demonstrate a refractory W-HfO2 metamaterial, which controls thermal emission through an engineered dielectric response function. The epsilon-near-zero frequency of a metamaterial and the connected optical topological transition (OTT) are adjusted to selectively enhance and suppress the thermal emission in the near-infrared spectrum, crucial for improved TPV efficiency. The near-omnidirectional and spectrally selective emitter is obtained as the emission changes due to material properties and not due to resonances or interference effects, marking a paradigm shift in thermal engineering approaches. We experimentally demonstrate the OTT in a thermally stable metamaterial at high temperatures of 1,000 °C.

Saman Jahani, Hangqi Zhao, and Zubin Jacob. 7/12/2018.

Switching Purcell effect with nonlinear epsilon-near-zero media

. Applied Physics Letters, 113.

An optical topological transition is defined as the change in the photonic iso-frequency surface around epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) frequencies which can considerably change the spontaneous emission of a quantum emitter placed near a metamaterial slab. Here, we show that due to the strong Kerr nonlinearity at ENZ frequencies, a high-power pulse can induce a sudden transition in the topology of the iso-frequency dispersion curve, leading to a significant change in the transmission of propagating as well as evanescent waves through the metamaterial slab. This evanescent wave switch effect allows for the control of spontaneous emission through modulation of the Purcell effect. We develop a theory of the enhanced nonlinear response of ENZ media to s and p polarized inputs and show that this nonlinear effect is stronger for p polarization and is almost independent of the incident angle. We perform finite-difference time-domain simulations to demonstrate the transient response of the metamaterial slab to an ultrafast pulse and fast switching of the Purcell effect at the sub-picosecond scale. The Purcell factor changes at ENZ by almost a factor of three which is an order of magnitude stronger than that away from ENZ. We also show that due to the inhomogeneous spatial field distribution inside the multilayer metal-dielectric super-lattice, a unique spatial topological transition metamaterial can be achieved by the control pulse induced nonlinearity. Our work can lead to ultra-fast control of quantum phenomena in ENZ metamaterials.

TODD VAN MECHELEN and Zubin Jacob. 8/21/2018.

Quantum gyroelectric effect: Photon spin-1 quantization in continuum topological bosonic phases

. Physical Review A, 98.

Topological phases of matter arise in distinct fermionic and bosonic flavors. The fundamental differences between them are encapsulated in their rotational symmetries—the spin. Although spin quantization is routinely encountered in fermionic topological edge states, analogous quantization for bosons has proven elusive. To this end, we develop the complete electromagnetic continuum theory characterizing 2+1D topological bosons, taking into account their intrinsic spin and orbital angular momentum degrees of freedom. We demonstrate that spatiotemporal dispersion (momentum and frequency dependence of linear response) captures the matter-mediated interactions between bosons and is a necessary ingredient for topological phases. We prove that the bulk topology of these 2+1D phases is manifested in transverse spin-1 quantization of the photon. From this insight, we predict two unique bosonic phases—one with even parity C = ±2 and one with odd C = ±1. To understand the even parity phase C = ±2, we introduce an exactly solvable model utilizing nonlocal optical Hall conductivity and reveal a single gapless photon at the edge. This unidirectional photon is spin-1 helically quantized, immune to backscattering, defects, and exists at the boundary of the C = ±2 bosonic phase and any interface-even vacuum. The contrasting phenomena of transverse quantization in the bulk, but longitudinal (helical) quantization on the edge is addressed as the quantum gyroelectric effect. We also validate our bosonic Maxwell theory by direct comparison with the supersymmetric Dirac theory of fermions. To accelerate the discovery of such bosonic phases, we suggest two probes of topological matter with broken time-reversal symmetry: momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy and cold atom near-field measurement of nonlocal optical Hall conductivity.

TODD VAN MECHELEN and Zubin Jacob. 1/1/2019.

Photonic Dirac monopoles and skyrmions: spin-1 quantization

. Optical Materials Express, 9, 1, Pp. 95-111.

We introduce the concept of a photonic Dirac monopole, appropriate for photonic crystals, metamaterials and 2D materials, by utilizing the Dirac-Maxwell correspondence. We start by exploring the vacuum where the reciprocal momentum space of both Maxwell’s equations and the massless Dirac equation (Weyl equation) possess a magnetic monopole. The critical distinction is the nature of magnetic monopole charges, which are integer valued for photons but half-integer for electrons. This inherent difference is directly tied to the spin and ultimately connects to the bosonic or fermionic behavior. We also show the presence of photonic Dirac strings, which are line singularities in the underlying Berry gauge potential. While the results in vacuum are intuitively expected, our central result is the application of this topological Dirac-Maxwell correspondence to 2D photonic (bosonic) materials, as opposed to conventional electronic (fermionic) materials. Intriguingly, within dispersive matter, the presence of photonic Dirac monopoles is captured by nonlocal quantum Hall conductivity–i.e., a spatiotemporally dispersive gyroelectric constant. For both 2D photonic and electronic media, the nontrivial topological phases emerge in the context of massive particles with broken time-reversal symmetry. However, the bulk dynamics of these bosonic and fermionic Chern insulators are characterized by spin-1 and spin-½ skyrmions in momentum space, which have fundamentally different interpretations. This is exemplified by their contrasting spin-1 and spin-½ helically quantized edge states. Our work sheds light on the recently proposed quantum gyroelectric phase of matter and the essential role of photon spin quantization in topological bosonic phases.

See also: Photonics, Topological, Spin
TODD VAN MECHELEN and Zubin Jacob. 5/28/2019.

Nonlocal topological electromagnetic phases of matter

. Physical Review B, 99, 20.

In (2+1)-dimensional materials, nonlocal topological electromagnetic phases are defined as atomic-scale media which host photonic monopoles in the bulk band structure and respect bosonic symmetries (e.g., time reversal T2=+1). Additionally, they support topologically protected spin-1 edge states, which are fundamentally different than spin-12 and pseudo-spin-12 edge states arising in fermionic and pseudofermionic systems. The striking feature of the edge state is that all electric and magnetic field components vanish at the boundary, in stark contrast to analogs of Jackiw-Rebbi domain wall states. This surprising open boundary solution of Maxwell's equations, dubbed the quantum gyroelectric effect [Phys. Rev. A 98, 023842 (2018)], is the supersymmetric partner of the topological Dirac edge state where the spinor wave function completely vanishes at the boundary. The defining feature of such phases is the presence of temporal and spatial dispersion in conductivity (the linear response function). In this paper, we generalize these topological electromagnetic phases beyond the continuum approximation to the exact lattice field theory of a periodic atomic crystal. To accomplish this, we put forth the concept of microscopic photonic band structure of solids, analogous to the traditional theory of electronic band structure. Our definition of topological invariants utilizes optical Bloch modes and can be applied to naturally occurring crystalline materials. For the photon propagating within a periodic atomic crystal, our theory shows that besides the Chern invariant C∈Z, there are also symmetry-protected topological (SPT) invariants ν∈ZN which are related to the cyclic point group CN of the crystal ν=CmodN. Due to the rotational symmetries of light R(2π)=+1, these SPT phases are manifestly bosonic and behave very differently from their fermionic counterparts R(2π)=−1 encountered in conventional condensed-matter systems. Remarkably, the nontrivial bosonic phases ν≠0 are determined entirely from rotational (spin-1) eigenvalues of the photon at high-symmetry points in the Brillouin zone. Our work accelerates progress toward the discovery of bosonic phases of matter where the electromagnetic field within an atomic crystal exhibits topological properties.

See also: Topological, Spin
TODD VAN MECHELEN and Zubin Jacob. 6/19/2019.

Unidirectional Maxwellian spin waves

. Nanophotonics, 8, 8.

In this article, we develop a unified perspective of unidirectional topological edge waves in nonreciprocal media. We focus on the inherent role of photonic spin in nonreciprocal gyroelectric media, i.e. magnetized metals or magnetized insulators. Due to the large body of contradicting literature, we point out at the outset that these Maxwellian spin waves are fundamentally different from well-known topologically trivial surface plasmon polaritons. We first review the concept of a Maxwell Hamiltonian in nonreciprocal media, which immediately reveals that the gyrotropic coefficient behaves as a photon mass in two dimensions. Similar to the Dirac mass, this photonic mass opens bandgaps in the energy dispersion of bulk propagating waves. Within these bulk photonic bandgaps, three distinct classes of Maxwellian edge waves exist – each arising from subtle differences in boundary conditions. On one hand, the edge wave solutions are rigorous photonic analogs of Jackiw-Rebbi electronic edge states. On the other hand, for the exact same system, they can be high frequency photonic counterparts of the integer quantum Hall effect, familiar at zero frequency. Our Hamiltonian approach also predicts the existence of a third distinct class of Maxwellian edge wave exhibiting topological protection. This occurs in an intriguing topological bosonic phase of matter, fundamentally different from any known electronic or photonic medium. The Maxwellian edge state in this unique quantum gyroelectric phase of matter necessarily requires a sign change in gyrotropy arising from nonlocality (spatial dispersion). In a Drude system, this behavior emerges from a spatially dispersive cyclotron frequency that switches sign with momentum. A signature property of these topological electromagnetic edge states is that they are oblivious to the contacting medium, i.e. they occur at the interface of the quantum gyroelectric phase and any medium (even vacuum). This is because the edge state satisfies open boundary conditions – all components of the electromagnetic field vanish at the interface. Furthermore, the Maxwellian spin waves exhibit photonic spin-1 quantization in exact analogy with their supersymmetric spin-1/2 counterparts. The goal of this paper is to discuss these three foundational classes of edge waves in a unified perspective while providing in-depth derivations, taking into account nonlocality and various boundary conditions. Our work sheds light on the important role of photonic spin in condensed matter systems, where this definition of spin is also translatable to topological photonic crystals and metamaterials.

See also: Topological, Spin, Photonics
Harish N. S. Krishnamoorthy, Zubin Jacob, Evgenii Narimanov, Ilona Kretzschmar, and Vinod M. Menon. 4/13/2012. Topological Transitions in Metamaterials. Science, 336, 6078, Pp. 205-209.

Light-matter interactions can be controlled by manipulating the photonic environment. We uncovered an optical topological transition in strongly anisotropic metamaterials that results in a dramatic increase in the photon density of states—an effect that can be used to engineer this interaction. We describe a transition in the topology of the iso-frequency surface from a closed ellipsoid to an open hyperboloid by use of artificially nanostructured metamaterials. We show that this topological transition manifests itself in increased rates of spontaneous emission of emitters positioned near the metamaterial. Altering the topology of the iso-frequency surface by using metamaterials provides a fundamentally new route to manipulating light-matter interactions.

Yu Guo and Zubin Jacob. 2014.

Singular evanescent wave resonances in moving media

. Optics Express, 22, 21, Pp. 26193-26202.

Resonators fold the path of light by reflections leading to a phase balance and thus constructive addition of propagating waves. However, amplitude decrease of these waves due to incomplete reflection or material absorption leads to a finite quality factor of all resonances. Here we report on our discovery that evanescent waves can lead to a perfect phase and amplitude balance causing an ideal Fabry-Perot resonance condition in spite of material absorption and non-ideal reflectivities. This counterintuitive resonance occurs if and only if the metallic Fabry-Perot plates are in relative motion to each other separated by a critical distance. We show that the energy needed to approach the resonance arises from the conversion of the mechanical energy of motion to electromagnetic energy. The phenomenon is similar to lasing where the losses in the cavity resonance are exactly compensated by optical gain media instead of mechanical motion. Nonlinearities and non-localities in material response will inevitably curtail any singularities however we show the giant enhancement in non-equilibrium phenomena due to such resonances in moving media.

See also: Topological
Saman Jahani and Zubin Jacob. 2014. Transparent subdiffraction optics: nanoscale light confinement without metal. Optica, 1, 2, Pp. 96-100.

The integration of nanoscale electronics with conventional optical devices is restricted by the diffraction limit of light. Metals can confine light at the subwavelength scales needed, but they are lossy, while dielectric materials do not confine evanescent waves outside a waveguide or resonator, leading to cross talk between components. We show that light can be confined below the diffraction limit using completely transparent artificial media (metamaterials with 𝜀>1, 𝜇=1ε>1, μ=1). Our approach relies on controlling the optical momentum of evanescent waves—an important electromagnetic property overlooked in photonic devices. For practical applications, we propose a class of waveguides using this approach that outperforms the cross-talk performance by 1 order of magnitude as compared to any existing photonic structure. Our work overcomes a critical stumbling block for nanophotonics by completely averting the use of metals and can impact electromagnetic devices from the visible to microwave frequency ranges.

We recently reported on the existence of a singular resonance in moving media which arises due to perfect amplitude and phase balance of evanescent waves. We show here that the nonequilibrium vacuum friction (lateral Casimir-Lifshitz force) between moving plates separated by a finite gap is fundamentally dominated by this resonance. Our result is robust to losses and dispersion as well as polarization mixing which occurs in the relativistic limit.

See also: Topological
Minkyung Kim, Zubin Jacob, and Junsuk Rho. 7/20/2020.

Recent advances in 2D, 3D and higher-order topological photonics

. Light: Science & Applications, 9, 1.

Over the past decade, topology has emerged as a major branch in broad areas of physics, from atomic lattices to condensed matter. In particular, topology has received significant attention in photonics because light waves can serve as a platform to investigate nontrivial bulk and edge physics with the aid of carefully engineered photonic crystals and metamaterials. Simultaneously, photonics provides enriched physics that arises from spin-1 vectorial electromagnetic fields. Here, we review recent progress in the growing field of topological photonics in three parts. The first part is dedicated to the basics of topological band theory and introduces various two-dimensional topological phases. The second part reviews three-dimensional topological phases and numerous approaches to achieve them in photonics. Last, we present recently emerging fields in topological photonics that have not yet been reviewed. This part includes topological degeneracies in nonzero dimensions, unidirectional Maxwellian spin waves, higher-order photonic topological phases, and stacking of photonic crystals to attain layer pseudospin. In addition to the various approaches for realizing photonic topological phases, we also discuss the interaction between light and topological matter and the efforts towards practical applications of topological photonics.

See also: Topological, Photonics
TODD VAN MECHELEN and Zubin Jacob. 10/26/2020.

Viscous Maxwell-Chern-Simons theory for topological electromagnetic phases of matter

. Physical Review B, 102, 15.

Chern-Simons theories have been very successful in explaining integer and fractional quantum Hall phases of matter, topological insulators, and Weyl semimetals. However, it remains an open question as to whether Chern-Simons theories can be adapted to topological photonics. We develop a viscous Maxwell-Chern-Simons theory to capture the fundamental physics of a topological electromagnetic phase of matter. We show the existence of a unique spin-1 skyrmion in the viscous Hall fluid arising from a photonic Zeeman interaction in momentum space. Our work bridges the gap between electromagnetic and condensed matter topological physics while also demonstrating the central role of photon spin-1 quantization in identifying new phases of matter.

See also: Topological, Photonics