Quantized nonlinear Thouless pumping

Marius Jürgensen, Sebabrata Mukherjee, Mikael C. Rechtsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The topological protection of wave transport, originally observed in the context of the quantum Hall effect in two-dimensional electron gases1, has been shown to apply broadly to a range of physical platforms, including photonics2–5, ultracold atoms in optical lattices6–8 and others9–12. That said, the behaviour of such systems can be very different from the electronic case, particularly when interparticle interactions or nonlinearity play a major role13–22. A Thouless pump23 is a one-dimensional model that captures the topological quantization of transport in the quantum Hall effect using the notion of dimensional reduction: an adiabatically, time-varying potential mathematically maps onto a momentum coordinate in a conceptual second dimension24–34. Importantly, quantization assumes uniformly filled electron bands below a Fermi energy, or an equivalent occupation for non-equilibrium bosonic systems. Here we theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate quantized nonlinear Thouless pumping of photons with a band that is decidedly not uniformly occupied. In our system, nonlinearity acts to quantize transport via soliton formation and spontaneous symmetry-breaking bifurcations. Quantization follows from the fact that the instantaneous soliton solutions centred upon a given unit cell are identical after each pump cycle, up to translation invariance; this is an entirely different mechanism from traditional Thouless pumping. This result shows that nonlinearity and interparticle interactions can induce quantized transport and topological behaviour without a linear counterpart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
Issue number7870
StatePublished - Aug 5 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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