State-recycling and time-resolved imaging in topological photonic lattices

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Photonic lattices - arrays of optical waveguides - are powerful platforms for simulating a range of phenomena, including topological phases. While probing dynamics is possible in these systems, by reinterpreting the propagation direction as time, accessing long timescales constitutes a severe experimental challenge. Here, we overcome this limitation by placing the photonic lattice in a cavity, which allows the optical state to evolve through the lattice multiple times. The accompanying detection method, which exploits a multi-pixel single-photon detector array, offers quasi-real time-resolved measurements after each round trip. We apply the state-recycling scheme to intriguing photonic lattices emulating Dirac fermions and Floquet topological phases. We also realise a synthetic pulsed electric field, which can be used to drive transport within photonic lattices. This work opens an exciting route towards the detection of long timescale effects in engineered photonic lattices and the realisation of hybrid analogue-digital simulators.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4209
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2018


  • Photonics
  • Lattices
  • Time-resolved imaging
  • Topological edge states
  • 3D photonic circuits
  • ultrafast laser inscription


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