University of Würzburg Advances Topological Photonics and Potential Technological Applications

A funnel of light

Excerpts and salient points ~

+  Professor Ronny Thomale holds a chair for theoretical condensed matter physics, the TP1, at the Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg. The discovery and theoretical description of new quantum states of matter is a prime objective of his research. “Developing a theory for a new physical phenomenon which then inspires new experiments seeking after this effect is one of the biggest moments in a theoretical physicist’s practice”, so he says. In an ideal case, such an effect would even unlock unexpected technological potential.

“We have managed to realise an effect we call a ‘light funnel’”, Thomale explains. Through this new effect, light in an optical fibre 10 kilometres of length can be accumulated at one specific point of choice in the wire. The mechanism underlying this phenomenon is the so-called “non-Hermitian skin effect” to which Thomale contributed relevant theoretical work in 2019. Specifically, Thomale’s work has enabled the understanding of the skin effect in the framework set by topological states of matter.

+  “The light accumulation achieved by the light funnel could be the basis for improving the sensitivity of optical detectors and thus enabling unprecedented optical applications”, Thomale explains. According to Thomale, however, the light funnel is only the beginning. “Already at this stage we are working on many new ideas in the realm of topological photonics and their potential technological application.”

+  To Thomale’s conviction, Würzburg provides an excellent environment for pursuing this direction of research. This has recently manifested itself in the excellence cluster “ct.qmat” which was jointly granted to the JMU Würzburg and TU Dresden. A major pillar of research of “ct.qmat” centres around synthetic topological matter, which is strongly supported by the research done at Thomale’s chair TP1 in Würzburg.

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Source:  University of Würzburg.  Prof. Dr. Ronny Thomale,  A funnel of light…

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