Photons are neutral particles that do not interact directly with a magnetic field. However, recent theoretical work1, 2 has shown that an effective magnetic field for photons can exist if the phase of light changes with its direction of propagation. This direction-dependent phase indicates the presence of an effective magnetic field, as shown experimentally for electrons in the Aharonov–Bohm experiment. Here, we replicate this experiment using photons. To create this effective magnetic field we construct an on-chip silicon-based Ramsey-type interferometer3, 4, 5, 6, 7. This interferometer has been traditionally used to probe the phase of atomic states and here we apply it to probe the phase of photonic states. We experimentally observe an effective magnetic flux between 0 and 2π corresponding to a non-reciprocal 2π phase shift with an interferometer length of 8.35 mm and an interference-fringe extinction ratio of 2.4 dB. This non-reciprocal phase is comparable to those of common monolithically integrated magneto-optical materials.
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