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Dynamic control of 2D non-Hermitian photonic corner states in synthetic dimensions

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posted on 2024-02-27, 17:00 authored by Xinyuan Zheng, Mahmoud Jalali Mehrabad, Jonathan Vannucci, Kevin Li, Avik Dutt, Mohammad Hafezi, Sunil Mittal, Edo Waks
Non-Hermitian models describe the physics of ubiquitous open systems with gain and loss. One intriguing aspect of non-Hermitian models is their inherent topology that can produce intriguing boundary phenomena like resilient higher-order topological insulators (HOTIs) and non-Hermitian skin effects (NHSE). Recently, time-multiplexed lattices in synthetic dimensions have emerged as a versatile platform for the investigation of these effects free of geometric restrictions. Despite holding broad applications, studies of these effects have been limited to static cases so far, and full dynamical control over the non-Hermitian effects has remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate the emergence of topological non-Hermitian corner states with remarkable temporal controllability and robustness in a two-dimensional photonic synthetic time lattice. Specifically, we showcase various dynamic control mechanisms for light confinement and flow, including spatial mode tapering, sequential non-Hermiticity on-off switching, dynamical corner state relocation, and light steering. Moreover, we establish the corner state's robustness in the presence of intensity modulation randomness and quantitatively determine its breakdown regime. Our findings extend non-Hermitian and topological photonic effects into higher synthetic dimensions, offering remarkable flexibility and real-time control possibilities. This opens avenues for topological classification, quantum walk simulations of many-body dynamics, and robust Floquet engineering, free from the limitations of physical geometries.



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