Observation of Protected Photonic Edge States Induced by Real-Space Topological Lattice Defects

Q Wang and HR Xue and BL Zhang and YD Chong, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 124, 243602 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.243602

Topological defects (TDs) in crystal lattices are elementary lattice imperfections that cannot be removed by local perturbations, due to their real-space topology. In the emerging field of topological photonics, photonic topological edge states arise from the nontrivial topology of the band structure defined in momentum space and are generally protected against defects. Here we show that adding TDs into a valley photonic crystal generates a lattice disclination that acts like a domain wall and hosts photonic topological edge states. Unlike previous topological waveguides, the disclination forms an open arc and functions as a free-form waveguide connecting a pair of TDs of opposite topological charge. This interplay between the real-space topology of lattice defects and momentum-space band topology provides a novel scheme to implement large-scale photonic structures with complex arrangements of robust topological waveguides and resonators.

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