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Tunable pseudo-magnetic fields for polaritons in strained metasurfaces


Pseudo-magnetic fields generated in artificially strained lattices have enabled the emulation of exotic phenomena once thought to be exclusive to charged particles. However, they have so far failed to emulate the tunability of real magnetic fields because they are determined solely by the engineered strain configuration, rendering them fixed by design. Here, we unveil a universal mechanism to tune pseudo-magnetic fields for polaritons supported by a strained honeycomb metasurface composed of interacting dipole emitters/antennas. Without altering the strain configuration, we show that the pseudo-magnetic field strength can be tuned by modifying the surrounding electromagnetic environment via an enclosing cavity waveguide, which modifies the nature of the dipole–dipole interactions. Owing to the competition between short-range Coulomb interactions and long-range photon-mediated interactions, the pseudo-magnetic field can be entirely switched off at a critical cavity width, without removing the strain. Consequently, by varying only the cavity width, we demonstrate a tunable Lorentz-like force that can be switched on/off and a collapse and revival of polariton Landau levels. Unlocking this tunable pseudo-magnetism poses new intriguing questions beyond the paradigm of conventional tight-binding physics.

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Fig. 1: Cavity-tunable dipole–dipole interactions.
Fig. 2: Cavity-tunable pseudo-gauge potentials.
Fig. 3: Cavity-tunable Lorentz-like force and cyclotron orbits.
Fig. 4: Cavity-induced collapse and revival of polariton Landau levels.

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All relevant data are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.


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C.-R.M. acknowledges financial support from the Rank Prize Funds and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (grant number EP/L015331/1). S.A.R.H. acknowledges financial support from a Royal Society TATA University Research Fellowship (grant number RPG-2016-186). E.M. acknowledges financial support from the Royal Society International Exchanges grant number IEC/R2/192166.

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C.-R.M. conceived the idea, developed the theory, performed the calculations and wrote the manuscript. S.A.R.H. contributed to the theoretical understanding. E.M. initiated the study, contributed to the theoretical understanding and supervised the project. All authors commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Charlie-Ray Mann or Eros Mariani.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Sections 1–7 and Figs. 1–9.

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Mann, CR., Horsley, S.A.R. & Mariani, E. Tunable pseudo-magnetic fields for polaritons in strained metasurfaces. Nat. Photonics 14, 669–674 (2020).

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