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Kerr-type nonlinear optical isolators bypassing dynamic reciprocity
preprintposted on 2023-11-30, 20:46 authored by Yiqi Hu, Yihong Qi, Yu You, Shicheng Zhang, Gongwei Lin, Xiaolin Li, Jiangbin Gong, Shangqing Gong, Yueping Niu
Magnetic-free optical isolators are critical components for the realization of integrated optical systems. The underlying physics of passive nonlinear optical isolators is not solely about breaking the Lorentz reciprocity without requiring any external bias. Indeed, one major obstacle to the operation of Kerr-type nonlinear optical isolators was found to be the so-called dynamic reciprocity, of which the serious outcome is that a backward signal cannot be isolated in the presence of a forward strong signal. In this work, we advocate the novel concept of velocity-selective nonlinearity to bypass such dynamic reciprocity. Using a proof-of-principle platform with warm rubidium atoms in an asymmetric cavity, we experimentally achieve the isolation of a backward signal in the presence of a strong forward signal, with experimental observations in agreement with our theoretical simulations. This work has thus made one essential step towards functioning Kerr-type passive optical isolators.