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Nonlinear light generation in topological nanostructures


Topological photonics has emerged as a route to robust optical circuitry protected against disorder1,2 and now includes demonstrations such as topologically protected lasing3,4,5 and single-photon transport6. Recently, nonlinear optical topological structures have attracted special theoretical interest7,8,9,10,11, as they enable tuning of topological properties by a change in the light intensity7,12 and can break optical reciprocity13,14,15 to realize full topological protection. However, so far, non-reciprocal topological states have only been realized using magneto-optical materials and macroscopic set-ups with external magnets4,16, which is not feasible for nanoscale integration. Here we report the observation of a third-harmonic signal from a topologically non-trivial zigzag array of dielectric nanoparticles and the demonstration of strong enhancement of the nonlinear photon generation at the edge states of the array. The signal enhancement is due to the interaction between the Mie resonances of silicon nanoparticles and the topological localization of the electric field at the edges. The system is also robust against various perturbations and structural defects. Moreover, we show that the interplay between topology, bi-anisotropy and nonlinearity makes parametric photon generation tunable and non-reciprocal. Our study brings nonlinear topological photonics concepts to the realm of nanoscience.

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Fig. 1: Nonlinear parametric generation of light from topological zigzag arrays.
Fig. 2: Experimental observations of the third-harmonic signal from zigzag arrays.
Fig. 3: Topological protection of the edge states against disorder.
Fig. 4: Spectral and directional control of the third-harmonic hot spots.
Fig. 5: Theoretical analysis of the control of THG hotspots in zigzag arrays.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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The authors acknowledge financial support from the Australian Research Council and the Strategic Fund of the Australian National University. A part of this research was conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Numerical calculations were supported in part by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (Zadanie no. 3.2465.2017/4.6) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant no. 18-02-00381). A.P. and A.Sl. acknowledge partial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant no. 18-32-20065). Y.K. thanks H. Atwater, B. Kanté, D. Leykam and E. Poutrina for discussions.

Author information




S.K., A.Sl. and Y.K. conceived the idea. S.K., A.Sh. and B.L.-D. performed the experimental measurements. A.P. and D.S. developed the discrete dipole theoretical model. D.S., L.W. and A.Sl. performed numerical calculations. I.K. and S.K. fabricated the samples. Y.K. supervised the project. All authors contributed to the discussion of results and manuscript preparation.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yuri Kivshar.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Notes 1–6; supplementary figures 1–12

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Kruk, S., Poddubny, A., Smirnova, D. et al. Nonlinear light generation in topological nanostructures. Nature Nanotech 14, 126–130 (2019).

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