4,451 research outputs found

    Parity-Time Symmetry Breaking beyond One Dimension: The Role of Degeneracy

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    We consider the role of degeneracy in Parity-Time (PT) symmetry breaking for non-hermitian wave equations beyond one dimension. We show that if the spectrum is degenerate in the absence of T-breaking, and T is broken in a generic manner (without preserving other discrete symmetries), then the standard PT-symmetry breaking transition does not occur, meaning that the spectrum is complex even for infinitesimal strength of gain and loss. However the realness of the entire spectrum can be preserved over a finite interval if additional discrete symmetries X are imposed when T is broken, if X decouple all degenerate modes. When this is true only for a subset of the degenerate spectrum, there can be a partial PT transition in which this subset remains real over a finite interval of T-breaking. If the spectrum has odd-degeneracy, a fraction of the degenerate spectrum can remain in the symmetric phase even without imposing additional discrete symmetries, and they are analogous to dark states in atomic physics. These results are illustrated by the example of different T-breaking perturbations of a uniform dielectric disk and sphere, and a group theoretical analysis is given in the disk case. Finally, we show that multimode coupling is capable of restoring the T-symmetric phase at finite T-breaking. We also analyze these questions when the parity operator is replaced by another spatial symmetry operator and find that the behavior can be qualitatively different.Comment: 8 pages, 6 figure

    Hidden Black: Coherent Enhancement of Absorption in Strongly-scattering Media

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    We show that a weakly absorbing, strongly scattering (white) medium can be made very strongly absorbing at any frequency within its strong-scattering bandwidth by optimizing the input electromagnetic field. For uniform absorption, results from random matrix theory imply that the reflectivity of the medium can be suppressed by a factor ~(l_a/lN^2), where N is the number of incident channels and l,l_a are the elastic and absorption mean free paths respectively. It is thus possible to increase absorption from a few percent to > 99%. For a localized weak absorber buried in a non-absorbing scattering medium, we find a large but bounded enhancement.Comment: 4 pages, 4 figure

    PT-symmetry breaking and laser-absorber modes in optical scattering systems

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    Using a scattering matrix formalism, we derive the general scattering properties of optical structures that are symmetric under a combination of parity and time-reversal (PT). We demonstrate the existence of a transition beween PT-symmetric scattering eigenstates, which are norm-preserving, and symmetry-broken pairs of eigenstates exhibiting net amplification and loss. The system proposed by Longhi, which can act simultaneously as a laser and coherent perfect absorber, occurs at discrete points in the broken symmetry phase, when a pole and zero of the S-matrix coincide.Comment: 4 pages, 4 figure

    Noise Properties of Coherent Perfect Absorbers and Critically-coupled Resonators

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    The performance of a coherent perfect absorber (time-reversed laser) is limited by quantum and thermal noise. At zero temperature, the quantum shot noise dominates the signal for frequencies close to the resonance frequency, and both vanish exactly at the resonance frequency. We compute the sensitivity of the absorbing cavity as a background-free detector, limited by finite signal or detector bandwidth.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figure