Optical systems combining balanced loss and gain provide a unique platform to implement classical analogues of quantum systems described by non-Hermitian parity-time (PT)-symmetric Hamiltonians. Such systems can be used to create synthetic materials with properties that cannot be attained in materials having only loss or only gain. Here we report PT-symmetry breaking in coupled optical resonators. We observed non-reciprocity in the PT-symmetry-breaking phase due to strong field localization, which significantly enhances nonlinearity. In the linear regime, light transmission is reciprocal regardless of whether the symmetry is broken or unbroken. We show that in one direction there is a complete absence of resonance peaks whereas in the other direction the transmission is resonantly enhanced, a feature directly associated with the use of resonant structures. Our results could lead to a new generation of synthetic optical systems enabling on-chip manipulation and control of light propagation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)