We study analytically and numerically an optical analog of tachyon condensation in amplifying plasmonic arrays. Optical propagation is modeled through coupled-mode equations, which in the continuous limit can be converted into a nonlinear one-dimensional Dirac-like equation for fermionic particles with imaginary mass, i.e., fermionic tachyons. We demonstrate that the vacuum state is unstable and acquires an expectation value with broken chiral symmetry, corresponding to the homogeneous nonlinear stationary solution of the system. The quantum field theory analog of this process is the condensation of unstable fermionic tachyons into massive particles. This paves the way for using amplifying plasmonic arrays as a classical laboratory for spontaneous symmetry breaking effects in quantum field theory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics