We present a general theory of spontaneous emission at exceptional points (EPs)- exotic degeneracies in non-Hermitian systems. Our theory extends beyond spontaneous emission to any light-matter interaction described by the local density of states (e.g., absorption, thermal emission, and nonlinear frequency conversion). Whereas traditional spontaneous-emission theories imply infinite enhancement factors at EPs, we derive finite bounds on the enhancement, proving maximum enhancement of 4 in passive systems with second-order EPs and significantly larger enhancements (exceeding 400×) in gain-aided and higher-order EP systems. In contrast to non-degenerate resonances, which are typically associated with Lorentzian emission curves in systems with low losses, EPs are associated with non-Lorentzian lineshapes, leading to enhancements that scale nonlinearly with the resonance quality factor. Our theory can be applied to dispersive media, with proper normalization of the resonant modes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||24|
|State||Published - May 29 2017|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics