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Long-lived elementary excitations and light coherence in topological lasers
preprintposted on 2023-11-30, 19:30 authored by Petr Zapletal, Bogdan Galilo, Andreas Nunnenkamp
Combining topologically-protected chiral light transport and laser amplification gives rise to topological lasers, whose operation is immune to fabrication imperfections and defects, uncovering the role of topology in a novel nonlinear non-Hermitian regime. We study a topological laser based on the photonic Haldane model with selective pumping of chiral edge modes described by saturable gain. We investigate elementary excitations around the mean-field steady state and their consequences for the coherence properties. In particular, we show that the hybridization of chiral edge modes gives rise to long-lived elementary excitations, leading to large phase fluctuations in the emitted light field and a decrease of light coherence. In contrast to topologically trivial lasers, the lifetime of elementary excitations is robust against disorder in topological lasers. However, the lifetime strongly depends on the edge-mode dispersion around the lasing frequency. As a result, the lifetime can be reduced by orders of magnitude for lasing of different edge modes, leading to a suppression of phase fluctuations and larger coherence of the emitted light. On the other hand, amplitude fluctuations and the second-order autocorrelation function are moderately increased at the same time.