Anomalous Hall effects of light and chiral edge modes on the Kagomé lattice

Publication Year


Journal Article
Phys. Rev. A
Date Published

We theoretically investigate a photonic Kagome lattice which can be realized in microwave cavity arrays using current technology. The Kagome lattice exhibits an exotic band structure with three bands one of which can be made completely flat. The presence of artificial gauge fields allows to emulate topological phases and induce chiral edge modes which can coexist inside the energy gap with the flat band that is topologically trivial. By tuning the artificial fluxes or in the presence of disorder, the flat band can also acquire a bandwidth in energy allowing the coexistence between chiral edge modes and bulk extended states; in this case the chiral modes become fragile towards scattering into the bulk. The photonic system then exhibits equivalents of both a quantum Hall effect without Landau levels, and an anomalous Hall effect characterized by a non-quantized Chern number. We discuss experimental observables such as local density of states and edge currents. We show how synthetic uniform magnetic fields can be engineered, which allows an experimental probe of Landau levels in the photonic Kagome lattice. We then draw on semiclassical Boltzmann equations for transport to devise a method to measure Berry's phases around loops in the Brillouin zone. The method is based solely on wavepacket interference and can be used to determine band Chern numbers or the photonic equivalent of the anomalous Hall response. We demonstrate the robustness of these measurements towards on-site and gauge-field disorder. We also show the stability of the anomalous quantum Hall phase for nonlinear cavities and for (artificial) atom-photon interactions.