Research ArticleOPTICS

Topological nature of nonlinear optical effects in solids

Science Advances  20 May 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 5, e1501524
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501524

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There are a variety of nonlinear optical effects including higher harmonic generations, photovoltaic effects, and nonlinear Kerr rotations. They are realized by strong light irradiation to materials that results in nonlinear polarizations in the electric field. These are of great importance in studying the physics of excited states of the system as well as for applications to optical devices and solar cells. Nonlinear properties of materials are usually described by nonlinear susceptibilities, which have complex expressions including many matrix elements and energy denominators. On the other hand, a nonequilibrium steady state under an electric field periodic in time has a concise description in terms of the Floquet bands of electrons dressed by photons. We show theoretically, using the Floquet formalism, that various nonlinear optical effects, such as the shift current in noncentrosymmetric materials, photovoltaic Hall response, and photo-induced change of order parameters under the continuous irradiation of monochromatic light, can be described in a unified fashion by topological quantities involving the Berry connection and Berry curvature. We found that vector fields defined with the Berry connections in the space of momentum and/or parameters govern the nonlinear responses. This topological view offers a route to designing nonlinear optical materials.

  • nonlinear optical effects
  • shift current
  • nonlinear Kerr rotation
  • Berry connection
  • Berry curvature
  • nonequilibrium steady states
  • Keldysh formalism
  • Floquet bands

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