Stability of topologically protected slow light against disorder

Jonas F. Karcher, Sarang Gopalakrishnan, Mikael C. Rechtsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Slowing down light in on-chip photonic devices strongly enhances the light-matter interaction, but typically also leads to increased backscattering and small-bandwidth operation. It was shown recently that, if one modifies the edge termination of a photonic Chern insulator such that the edge mode wraps many times around the Brillouin zone, light can be slowed to arbitrarily low group velocity over a large bandwidth, without being subject to backscattering. Here we study the robustness of these in-gap slow light modes against fabrication disorder, finding that disorder on scales significantly larger than the minigaps between edge bands is tolerable. We identify the mechanism for wavepacket breakup as disorder-induced velocity renormalization and calculate the associated breakup time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063507
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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