Chiral excitation and effective bandwidth enhancement in tilted waveguide lattices

Longhi, Stefano
Optics Letters 45, 6667-6670 (2020)

Light escape from an optical waveguide side-coupled to a waveguide lattice provides a photonic analogue of the spontaneous emission process of an excited two-level atom in a one-dimensional array of cavities. According to the Fermi golden rule, the decay process is prevented when the atomic resonance frequency falls in a stop band of the lattice, while time-reversal symmetry ensures that the spontaneously emitted photon has equal probability to propagate in opposite directions of the array. This scenario is drastically modified when the quantum emitter drifts along the lattice. In the waveguide optics analogue, the atomic drift is emulated by the introduction of a slight geometric tilt of the waveguide axis from the lattice axis. In this setting, light excitation in the array is chiral, i.e., light propagates in a preferred direction of the lattice, and coupling is allowed even though the waveguide is far detuned from the tight-binding lattice band.

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