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Non-Hermitian chiral phononics through optomechanically-induced squeezing

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posted on 2023-01-12, 14:20 authored by Javier del Pino, Jesse J. Slim, Ewold Verhagen
Imposing chirality on a physical system engenders unconventional energy flow and responses, such as the Aharonov-Bohm effect and the topological quantum Hall phase for electrons in a symmetry-breaking magnetic field. Recently, great interest has arisen in combining that principle with broken Hermiticity to explore novel topological phases and applications. Here, we report unique phononic states formed when combining the controlled breaking of time-reversal symmetry with non-Hermitian dynamics, both induced through time-modulated radiation pressure forces in small nano-optomechanical networks. We observe chiral energy flow among mechanical resonators in a synthetic dimension and Aharonov-Bohm tuning of their hybridised modes. Introducing particle-non-conserving squeezing interactions, we discover a non-Hermitian Aharonov-Bohm effect in ring-shaped networks in which mechanical quasiparticles experience parametric gain. The resulting nontrivial complex mode spectra indicate flux-tuning of squeezing, exceptional points, instabilities and unidirectional phononic amplification. This rich new phenomenology points the way to the exploration of new non-Hermitian topological bosonic phases and applications in sensing and transport that exploit spatiotemporal symmetry breaking.

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