Topology Protects Light Propagation in Photonic Crystal



Electron microscopy image of topological photonic crystals in a perforated slab of silicon. The top and bottom crystal structures differ slightly; along the boundary between two parts (dotted line) light can be guided. The disparate mathematical description (topology) of the light fields in the two crystals prescribes that their boundary has to conduct light; that conduction is thus ‘topologically protected.’ Credit: AMOLF
Topology Protects Light Propagation in Photonic Crystal
Researchers of research institute AMOLF and TU Delft have seen light propagate in a special material without it suffering from reflections. The material, a photonic crystal, consists of two parts that each have a slightly different pattern of perforations. Light can propagate along the boundary between these two parts in a special way: it is ‘topologically protected’ and, therefore, does not bounce back at imperfections. Even when the boundary forms a sharp corner, the light follows it without a…



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