Particle-like topologies in light

Sugic, Danica and Droop, Ramon and Otte, Eileen and Ehrmanntraut, Daniel and Nori, Franco and Ruostekoski, Janne and Denz, Cornelia and Dennis, Mark R. (2021) Particle-like topologies in light. Nature Communications, 12. ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) topological states resemble truly localised, particle-like objects in physical space. Among the richest such structures are 3D skyrmions and hopfions, that realise integer topological numbers in their configuration via homotopic mappings from real space to the hypersphere (sphere in 4D space) or the 2D sphere. They have received tremendous attention as exotic textures in particle physics, cosmology, superfluids, and many other systems. Here we experimentally create and measure a topological 3D skyrmionic hopfion in fully structured light. By simultaneously tailoring the polarisation and phase profile, our beam establishes the skyrmionic mapping by realising every possible optical state in the propagation volume. The resulting light field’s Stokes parameters and phase are synthesised into a Hopf fibration texture. We perform volumetric full-field reconstruction of the Π3 mapping, measuring a quantised topological charge, or Skyrme number, of 0.945. Such topological state control opens avenues for 3D optical data encoding and metrology. The Hopf characterisation of the optical hypersphere endows a fresh perspective to topological optics, offering experimentally-accessible photonic analogues to the gamut of particle-like 3D topological textures, from condensed matter to high-energy physics.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nature Communications
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3100
Subjects:
ID Code:
162869
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 Dec 2021 13:33
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 10:52