Topological photonic phase in chiral hyperbolic metamaterials

Wenlong Gao, Mark Lawrence, Biao Yang, Fu Liu, Fengzhou Fang, Benjamin Béri, Jensen Tsan Hang Li, Shuang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, the possibility of achieving one-way backscatter immune transportation of light by mimicking the topological properties of certain solid state systems, such as topological insulators, has received much attention. Thus far, however, demonstrations of nontrivial topology in photonics have relied on photonic crystals with precisely engineered lattice structures, periodic on the scale of the operational wavelength and composed of finely tuned, complex materials. Here we propose a novel effective medium approach towards achieving topologically protected photonic surface states robust against disorder on all length scales and for a wide range of material parameters. Remarkably, the nontrivial topology of our metamaterial design results from the Berry curvature arising from the transversality of electromagnetic waves in a homogeneous medium. Our investigation therefore acts to bridge the gap between the advancing field of topological band theory and classical optical phenomena such as the spin Hall effect of light. The effective medium route to topological phases will pave the way for highly compact one-way transportation of electromagnetic waves in integrated photonic circuits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number037402
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2015


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