Research ArticlePHYSICS

Unconventional quantum optics in topological waveguide QED

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Science Advances  26 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaaw0297
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0297


The discovery of topological materials has motivated recent developments to export topological concepts into photonics to make light behave in exotic ways. Here, we predict several unconventional quantum optical phenomena that occur when quantum emitters interact with a topological waveguide quantum electrodynamics bath, namely, the photonic analog of the Su-Schrieffer-Heeger model. When the emitters’ frequency lies within the topological bandgap, a chiral bound state emerges, which is located on just one side (right or left) of the emitter. In the presence of several emitters, this bound state mediates topological, tunable interactions between them, which can give rise to exotic many-body phases such as double Néel ordered states. Furthermore, when the emitters’ optical transition is resonant with the bands, we find unconventional scattering properties and different super/subradiant states depending on the band topology. Last, we propose several implementations where these phenomena can be observed with state-of-the-art technology.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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