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Seminar MCBT : Tuesday, 24th May 2022 at 11:00 am

Selma Franca (Institut Néel)

Title: Non-Hermitian physics without gain or loss: the skin effect of reflected waves


Institut Néel, Room E424
AbstractPhysically, one tends to think of non-Hermitian systems in terms of gain and loss: the decay or amplification of a mode is given by the imaginary part of its energy. Here, we introduce an alternative avenue to the realm of non-Hermitian physics, which involves neither gain nor loss. Instead, complex eigenvalues emerge from the amplitudes and phase-differences of waves backscattered from the boundary of insulators. We show that for any strong topological insulator in a Wigner-Dyson class, the reflected waves are characterized by a reflection matrix exhibiting the non-Hermitian skin effect. This leads to an unconventional Goos-Hänchen effect: due to non-Hermitian topology, waves undergo a lateral shift upon reflection, even at normal incidence. Going beyond systems with gain and loss vastly expands the set of experimental platforms that can access non-Hermitian physics and show signatures associated to non-Hermitian topology.