Topological photonics

Tomoki Ozawa, Hannah M. Price, Alberto Amo, Nathan Goldman, Mohammad Hafezi, Ling Lu, Mikael C. Rechtsman, David Schuster, Jonathan Simon, Oded Zilberberg, Iacopo Carusotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2021 Citations (Scopus)


Topological photonics is a rapidly emerging field of research in which geometrical and topological ideas are exploited to design and control the behavior of light. Drawing inspiration from the discovery of the quantum Hall effects and topological insulators in condensed matter, recent advances have shown how to engineer analogous effects also for photons, leading to remarkable phenomena such as the robust unidirectional propagation of light, which hold great promise for applications. Thanks to the flexibility and diversity of photonics systems, this field is also opening up new opportunities to realize exotic topological models and to probe and exploit topological effects in new ways. This article reviews experimental and theoretical developments in topological photonics across a wide range of experimental platforms, including photonic crystals, waveguides, metamaterials, cavities, optomechanics, silicon photonics, and circuit QED. A discussion of how changing the dimensionality and symmetries of photonics systems has allowed for the realization of different topological phases is offered, and progress in understanding the interplay of topology with non-Hermitian effects, such as dissipation, is reviewed. As an exciting perspective, topological photonics can be combined with optical nonlinearities, leading toward new collective phenomena and novel strongly correlated states of light, such as an analog of the fractional quantum Hall effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015006
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 25


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