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A reconfigurable topological photonic insulator

A topological insulator that routes optical signals from one port to another in a flexible manner, making use of its entire footprint.

Problem:    
Controlling light flow is required for photonic infrastructures used in data processing, communication, and computing. However, current photonic integrated infrastructures are limited by crosstalk and disorder-induced scattering losses. As such, these infrastructures lack flexibility and require large footprints, making large-scale integrated photonic applications impractical.

Solution:
A topologic insulator has been developed which allows for the control of light flow across the surface of the insulator using optical pumping of spatial light patterns.

Technology Overview:
A non-Hermitian control of patterned gain/loss distribution is used to actively steer topological light along any route in a photonic integrated circuit. This control is conducted by optically pumping the photonic lattice to create distributed gain and loss domains. Using the non-Hermitian manipulation redefines the topological domain wall without altering the structure.

Advantages:

  • Does not require physical manipulation of the insulator
  • Light flow is only restricted by the size and shape of resonator array
  • Can be applied to optical switches, circulators, and wave amplifiers
  • Minimizes unwanted feedback and loss

Non-Hermitian control of light propagation in a topological microring lattice. (A). Schematic of creating the topological edge channels along the gain/loss interface in the bulk of the photonic lattice with uniform global topology. (B) The topologic edge states can be dynamically reconfigured to steer light along any boundary.

Non-Hermitian control of light propagation in a topological microring lattice. (A). Schematic of creating the topological edge channels along the gain/loss interface in the bulk of the photonic lattice with uniform global topology. (B) The topologic edge states can be dynamically reconfigured to steer light along any boundary.

 

Stage of Development: 

  • Concept
  • Proof of concept
  • Bench prototype

Intellectual Property:
Provisional patent filed

Docket # 20-9135 


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Qishui Chen
Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
215-898-9591
qchen1@upenn.edu
Inventors:
Liang Feng
Han Zhao
Keywords:
Optics & Photonics