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Journal Article

Topological Phases of Sound and Light


Marquardt,  F.
Marquardt Group, Associated Groups, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Peano, V., Brendel, C., Schmidt, M., & Marquardt, F. (2015). Topological Phases of Sound and Light. Physical Review X, 5(3): 031011. doi:10.1103/PhysRevX.5.031011.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-6398-8
Topological states of matter are particularly robust, since they exploit global features of a material's band structure. Topological states have already been observed for electrons, atoms, and photons. It is an outstanding challenge to create a Chern insulator of sound waves in the solid state. In this work, we propose an implementation based on cavity optomechanics in a photonic crystal. The topological properties of the sound waves can be wholly tuned in situ by adjusting the amplitude and frequency of a driving laser that controls the optomechanical interaction between light and sound. The resulting chiral, topologically protected phonon transport can be probed completely optically. Moreover, we identify a regime of strong mixing between photon and phonon excitations, which gives rise to a large set of different topological phases and offers an example of a Chern insulator produced from the interaction between two physically distinct particle species, photons and phonons.