Letter | Published:

Topological energy transfer in an optomechanical system with exceptional points

Nature volume 537, pages 8083 (01 September 2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Topological operations can achieve certain goals without requiring accurate control over local operational details; for example, they have been used to control geometric phases and have been proposed as a way of controlling the state of certain systems within their degenerate subspaces1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. More recently, it was predicted that topological operations can be used to transfer energy between normal modes, provided that the system possesses a specific type of degeneracy known as an exceptional point9,10,11. Here we demonstrate the transfer of energy between two vibrational modes of a cryogenic optomechanical device using topological operations. We show that this transfer arises from the presence of an exceptional point in the spectrum of the device. We also show that this transfer is non-reciprocal12,13,14. These results open up new directions in system control; they also open up the possibility of exploring other dynamical effects related to exceptional points15,16, including the behaviour of thermal and quantum fluctuations in their vicinity.

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Acknowledgements

We thank L. Jiang, D. Lee, T. Milburn, P. Rabl, S. Rotter, A. Shkarin and W. Underwood for discussions. This work was supported by AFOSR Grant FA9550-15-1-0270.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

    • H. Xu
    • , D. Mason
    • , Luyao Jiang
    •  & J. G. E. Harris
  2. Department of Applied Physics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

    • J. G. E. Harris

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Contributions

H.X., D.M. and L.J. performed the measurements and analysed the data. J.G.E.H. and H.X. wrote the manuscript with input from all the authors. J.G.E.H. directed the research.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. G. E. Harris.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18604

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