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Optical soliton formation controlled by angle twisting in photonic moiré lattices


Exploration of the impact of synthetic material landscapes featuring tunable geometrical properties on physical processes is a research direction that is currently of great interest because of the outstanding phenomena that are continually being uncovered. Twistronics and the properties of wave excitations in moiré lattices are salient examples. Moiré patterns bridge the gap between aperiodic structures and perfect crystals, thus opening the door to the exploration of effects accompanying the transition from commensurate to incommensurate phases. Moiré patterns have revealed profound effects in graphene-based systems1,2,3,4,5, they are used to manipulate ultracold atoms6,7 and to create gauge potentials8, and are observed in colloidal clusters9. Recently, it was shown that photonic moiré lattices enable observation of the two-dimensional localization-to-delocalization transition of light in purely linear systems10,11. Here, we employ moiré lattices optically induced in photorefractive nonlinear media12,13,14 to elucidate the formation of optical solitons under different geometrical conditions controlled by the twisting angle between the constitutive sublattices. We observe the formation of solitons in lattices that smoothly transition from fully periodic geometries to aperiodic ones, with threshold properties that are a pristine direct manifestation of flat-band physics11.

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Fig. 1: Moiré patterns and properties of their linear eigenmodes.
Fig. 2: Families of 2D solitons in moiré lattices.
Fig. 3: Thresholds for soliton formation in moiré lattices.
Fig. 4: Soliton formation above the linear localization–delocalization threshold.
Fig. 5: Soliton formation below the linear localization–delocalization threshold.

Data availability

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

Code availability

The codes that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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Q.F., P.W. and F.Y. acknowledge support from NSFC (grants 91950120 and 11690033) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (grant 19ZR1424400). P.W. and F.Y. thank X. Chen for support with experiments. Y.V.K. and L.T. acknowledge support from the Severo Ochoa Excellence Programme, Fundacio Privada Cellex, Fundacio Privada Mir-Puig and CERCA/Generalitat de Catalunya. V.V.K. acknowledges financial support from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under contract no. UIDB/00618/2020.

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Correspondence to Fangwei Ye.

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Fu, Q., Wang, P., Huang, C. et al. Optical soliton formation controlled by angle twisting in photonic moiré lattices. Nat. Photonics 14, 663–668 (2020).

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