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BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

Topology, locality, and passivity in nonreciprocal electromagnetic media Monticone, Francesco


Strongly nonreciprocal structures and photonic topological insulators are emerging as an important class of material platforms that support the propagation of robust unidirectional surface waves. In this talk, we discuss our recent work on topological, continuous, electromagnetic media, with particular focus on complex scenarios that include dissipation, spatial dispersion (nonlocality), and nonlinearities. As a model system, we consider a magnetized plasmonic material, which exhibits a typical gyrotropic nonreciprocal response. We discuss how nonlocality and dissipation affect the unidirectional nature of the supported modes, the topological transitions that may emerge, and some apparent paradoxes. We also clarify that, while nonreciprocal topological media break temporal symmetries for wave propagation, allowing to overcome some limitations of conventional electromagnetic systems, other relevant physical bounds and limits are unaffected since they depend on causality and passivity. Our study reveals limitations and potential of unidirectional/topological material platforms, and may pave the way to novel applications of topological wave-guiding systems.

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