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Volume 11 Issue 12, December 2017

Volume 11 Issue 12

Dynamic non-reciprocity

Suitably tailored temporal modulations in coupled photonic crystal cavities can realize non-reciprocal signal transport in a magnet-free nanophotonic platform. In the pictured device, light flows as indicated by the white arrows, thus allowing it to function as an optical circulator, breaking the inherent transmission symmetry of Lorentz reciprocity.

See Sounas and Alù 11, 774–783 (2017)

Image: Erik Zumalt, Dimitrios Sounas and Andrea Alù, The University of Texas at Austin.Cover Design: Bethany Vukomanovic.


  • Editorial |

    The exploitation of non-Hermitian quantum physics concepts in classical photonics has spawned much research activity during 2017. We conclude the year with a focus issue on parity–time symmetry and concepts with overlapping goals, in particular topological and non-reciprocal photonics.



  • Q&A |

    Nature Photonics spoke to Demetrios Christodoulides, of CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics, University of Central Florida, about the birth of the parity–time-symmetry concepts in optics and the challenges and prospects on the path ahead.

    • Interview by David F. P. Pile


Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Optically generated local phase changes in methylammonium lead iodide produce a transient quantum-well-like structure with robust optical gain. The result is a perovskite laser that supports continuous-wave lasing under optical pumping.

    • Malte C. Gather
  • News & Views |

    Plasmonic antennas store energy by localizing light to nanoscale volumes. A plasmon’s oscillating electrons can scatter directly into a semiconductor, transferring the captured energy in less than ten femtoseconds.

    • S. K. Cushing
  • News & Views |

    The field of machine learning potentially brings a new set of powerful tools to optical communications and photonics. However, to separate hype from reality it is vital that such tools are evaluated properly and used judiciously.

    • Darko Zibar
    • Henk Wymeersch
    • Ilya Lyubomirsky

Review Articles


  • Letter |

    Self-starting harmonic frequency comb generation with a THz repetition rate in a quantum cascade laser is demonstrated. The mode spacing uniformity is verified to within 5 × 10−12 parts of the central frequency. The findings extend the range of applications of quantum cascade laser frequency combs.

    • Dmitry Kazakov
    • Marco Piccardo
    • Federico Capasso



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