Three-dimensional all-dielectric photonic topological insulator


The discovery of two-dimensional topological photonic systems has transformed our views on the propagation and scattering of electromagnetic waves, and the quest for similar states in three dimensions is open. Here, we theoretically demonstrate that it is possible to design symmetry-protected three-dimensional topological states in an all-dielectric platform, with the electromagnetic duality between electric and magnetic fields being ensured by the structure design. Magneto-electrical coupling plays the role of a synthetic gauge field that determines a topological transition to an ‘insulating’ regime with a complete three-dimensional photonic bandgap. We reveal the emergence of surface states with conical Dirac dispersion and spin-locking, and we numerically confirm robust propagation of the surface states along two-dimensional domain walls with first-principles studies. The proposed system represents a table-top platform capable of emulating the relativistic dynamics of massive Dirac fermions and the surface states can be interpreted as Jackiw–Rebbi states bound to the interface separating domains with particles of opposite masses.

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Figure 1: Three-dimensional Dirac cone and topological transition in all-dielectric metacrystal.
Figure 2: Field profiles of the four bands corresponding to the overlaid 3D Dirac cones and two ways to induce bianisotropy.
Figure 3: Topological surface states supported by 2D domain wall in 3D all-dielectric metacrystal.
Figure 4: Spin-locking of the topological surface states.
Figure 5: Topological robustness of surface states propagating along a sharply curved 2D domain wall formed in the middle of the all-dielectric 3D topological insulator.


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The authors are grateful to L. Lu and A. Poddubny for many enlightening comments, useful discussions and suggestions. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (CMMI-1537294 and EFRI-1641069). Research was partly carried out at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, which is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under contract no. DE-SC0012704. This work was partially supported by the Australian Research Council. A.S. and A.B.K. acknowledge that the large scale numerical simulations were supported by the Russian Science Foundation (grant no.16-19-10538). A.S. acknowledges support from the IEEE MTT-S and Photonics Graduate Fellowships.

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All authors contributed extensively to the work presented in this paper.

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Correspondence to Alexander B. Khanikaev.

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Slobozhanyuk, A., Mousavi, S., Ni, X. et al. Three-dimensional all-dielectric photonic topological insulator. Nature Photon 11, 130–136 (2017).

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