Direct observation of topological surface-state arcs in photonic metamaterials

Biao Yang, Qinghua Guo, Ben Tremain, Lauren E. Barr, Wenlong Gao, Hongchao Liu, Benjamin Beri, Yuanjiang Xiang, Dianyuan Fan, Alastair P. Hibbins, Shuang Zhang

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63 Citations (Scopus)
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The discovery of topological phases has introduced new perspectives and platforms for various interesting physics originally investigated in quantum contexts and then, on an equal footing, in classic wave systems. As a characteristic feature, nontrivial Fermi arcs, connecting between topologically distinct Fermi surfaces, play vital roles in the classification of Dirac and Weyl semimetals, and have been observed in quantum materials very recently. However, in classical systems, no direct experimental observation of Fermi arcs in momentum space has been reported so far. Here, using near-field scanning measurements, we show the observation of photonic topological surface-state arcs connecting topologically distinct bulk states in a chiral hyperbolic metamaterial. To verify the topological nature of this system, we further observe backscattering-immune propagation of a nontrivial surface wave across a three-dimension physical step. Our results demonstrate a metamaterial approach towards topological photonics and offer a deeper understanding of topological phases in three-dimensional classical systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number97
JournalNature Communications
Early online date21 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2017


  • Metamaterials
  • Microwave photonics
  • Sub-wavelength optics


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