The cascade of resonant topological structures with PT-symmetry breaking is shown to emit laser light with a frequency-comb spectrum. We consider optically active topological Aubry-Andr\’e-Harper lattices supporting edge-modes at regularly spaced frequencies. When the amplified resonances in the PT-broken regime match the edge modes of the topological gratings, we predict the emission of discrete laser lines. A proper design enables to engineer the spectral features for specific applications. The robustness of the topological protection makes the system very well suited for a novel generation of compact frequency comb emitters for spectroscopy, metrology, and quantum information.
Pilozzi and Conti, arXiv:1707.09191
Optical parametric oscillators are widely-used pulsed and continuous-wave tunable sources for innumerable applications, as in quantum technologies, imaging and biophysics. A key drawback is material dispersion imposing the phase-matching condition that generally entails a complex setup design, thus hindering tunability and miniaturization. Here we show that the burden of phase-matching is surprisingly absent in parametric micro-resonators adopting monolayer transition-metal dichalcogenides as quadratic nonlinear materials. By the exact solution of nonlinear Maxwell equations and first-principle calculation of the semiconductor nonlinear response, we devise a novel kind of phase-matching-free miniaturized parametric oscillator operating at conventional pump intensities. We find that different two-dimensional semiconductors yield degenerate and non-degenerate emission at various spectral regions thanks to doubly-resonant mode excitation, which can be tuned through the incidence angle of the external pump laser. In addition we show that high-frequency electrical modulation can be achieved by doping through electrical gating that efficiently shifts the parametric oscillation threshold. Our results pave the way for new ultra-fast tunable micron-sized sources of entangled photons, a key device underpinning any quantum protocol. Highly-miniaturized optical parametric oscillators may also be employed in lab-on-chip technologies for biophysics, environmental pollution detection and security.
Ciattoni, Marini, Rizza, Conti in arXiv:1707.08843
The description of irreversible phenomena is a still debated topic in quantum mechanics. Still nowadays, there is no clear procedure to distinguish the coupling with external baths from the intrinsic irreversibility in isolated systems. In 1928 Gamow introduced states with exponentially decaying observables not belonging to the conventional Hilbert space. These states are named Gamow vectors, and they belong to rigged Hilbert spaces. This review summarizes the contemporary approach using Gamow vectors and rigged Hilbert space formalism as foundations of a generalized “time asymmetric” quantum mechanics. We study the irreversible propagation of specific wave packets and show that the topic is surprisingly related to the problem of irreversibility of shock waves in classical nonlinear evolution. We specifically consider the applications in the field of nonlinear optics. We show that it is
possible to emulate irreversible quantum mechanical process by the nonlinear evolution of a laser beam and we provide experimental tests by the generation of dispersive shock waves in highly nonlocal regimes. We demonstrate experimentally the quantization of decay rates predicted by the time-asymmetric quantum mechanics. This work furnishes support to the idea of intrinsically irreversible wave propagation, and to novel tests of the foundations of quantum mechanics.
Time-Asymmetric Quantum Mechanics and Shock Waves: Exploring the Irreversibility in Nonlinear Optics, Annalen der Physik 10.1002/andp.201600349 (2017)
Spin-glass theory is one of the leading paradigms of complex physics and describes condensed matter, neural networks and biological systems, ultracold atoms, random photonics, and many other research fields. According to this theory, identical systems under identical conditions may reach different states and provide different values for observable quantities. This effect is known as Replica Symmetry Breaking and is theoretically revealed by the change in shape of the probability distribution function of an order parameter named the Parisi overlap.
Despite the profound implications in the new physics of complexity, a direct experimental evidence of the Replica Symmetry Breaking transition, in any field of research was never reported.
C. Conti and coworkers show that pulse-to-pulse fluctuations in random lasers, and a direct measurement of the Parisi overlap, unveil a transition to a glassy light phase in random lasers compatible with a Replica Symmetry Breaking.
This is the first evidence of Replica Symmetry Breaking and the first direct measurement of the Parisi overlap.
N. Ghofraniha, I. Viola, F. Di Maria, G. Barbarella, G. Gigli, L. Leuzzi and C. Conti reported on the first evidence of Replica Symmetry Breaking in Random Lasers by the direct measurement of the Parisi overlap distribution function (arXiv:1407.5428, Nature Communications 2015)
A new book on the Game of Life, and specifically on the Art of the Game of Life has been published by Springer. Edited by A. Adamatzky and Genaro J. Martinez, the book is part of the Series on Emergence, Complexity and Computation with artistic representations from simple mathematical models at the edge of physics and biology. The book contains a chapter by C. Conti on the Enlightened Game of Life.