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Theory of coupled resonator optical waveguides exhibiting high-order exceptional points of degeneracy

  • Author(s): Nada, MY
  • Othman, MAK
  • Capolino, F
  • et al.

We present an approach and a theoretical framework for generating high-order exceptional points of degeneracy (EPDs) in photonic structures based on periodic coupled resonator optical waveguides (CROWs). Such EPDs involve the coalescence of Floquet-Bloch eigenwaves in CROWs, without the presence of gain and loss, which contrasts with the parity-time symmetry required to develop exceptional points based on gain and loss balance. The EPDs arise here by introducing symmetry breaking in a conventional chain of coupled resonators through periodic coupling to an adjacent uniform optical waveguide, which leads to unique modal characteristics that cannot be realized in conventional CROWs. Such remarkable characteristics include high quality factors (Q factors) and strong field enhancement, even without any mirrors at the two ends of a cavity. We show for the first time the capability of CROWs to exhibit EPDs of various orders, including the degenerate band edge (DBE) and the stationary inflection point. The proposed CROW of finite length shows an enhanced quality factor when operating near the DBE, and the Q factor exhibits an unconventional scaling with the CROW's length. We develop the theory of EPDs in such unconventional CROW using coupled-wave equations, and we derive an analytical expression for the dispersion relation. The proposed unconventional CROW concepts have various potential applications including Q switching, nonlinear devices, lasers, and extremely sensitive sensors.

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