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Exceptional Points of Degeneracy and Branch Points for Coupled Transmission Lines—Linear-Algebra and Bifurcation Theory Perspectives


We provide a new angle to investigate exceptional points of degeneracy (EPD) relating the current linear-algebra point of view to bifurcation theory. We apply these concepts to EPDs related to propagation in waveguides supporting two modes (in each direction), described as a coupled transmission line. We show that EPDs are singular points of the dispersion function associated with the fold bifurcation connecting multiple branches of dispersion spectra. This provides an important connection between various modal interaction phenomena known in guided-wave structures with recent interesting effects observed in quantum mechanics, photonics, and metamaterials systems described in terms of the algebraic EPD formalism. Since bifurcation theory involves only eigenvalues, we also establish the connection to the linear-algebra point of view by casting the system eigenvectors in terms of eigenvalues, analytically showing that the coalescence of two eigenvalues results automatically in the coalescence of the two respective eigenvectors. Therefore, for the studied two-coupled transmission-line problem, the eigenvalue degeneracy explicitly implies an EPD. Furthermore, we discuss in some detail the fact that EPDs define branch points in the complex frequency plane, we provide simple formulas for these points, and we show that parity-time (PT) symmetry leads to real-valued EPDs occurring on the real-frequency axis.

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