EECS Special Seminar: Mikael Rechtsman (Technion) - "Photonic topological insulators and pseudomagnetism"


Event Speaker: 

Mikael Rechtsman

Event Location: 

Grier A, 34-401A

Event Date/Time: 

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 3:00pm

I will present two examples in which ‘fictitious fields’ lead to surprising photonic effects that would be difficult (if not impossible) to achieve with real fields.  Firstly, I will present the first observation of the topological protection of light - a ‘Photonic Floquet Topological Insulator’ [1].  The structure is an array of coupled helical waveguides (the helicity generates a fictitious circularly-polarized electric field that leads to the TI behavior).  Second, I will demonstrate artificial magnetic fields (‘pseudomagnetism’) in photonic lattices [2]. The pseudomagnetic field is generated by inhomogeneously straining the system (thus breaking periodicity), and leads to photonic Landau levels with very high photonic density of states.  Potential applications include robust photonic devices and strong light-matter interaction over large areas.

[1] Rechtsman, M. C. et al. Nature 496, 196–200 (2013).
[2] Rechtsman, M. C. et al. Nature Photon. 7, 153–158 (2013).


Mikael Rechtsman is an Azrieli Postdoctoral Fellow at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Prof. Mordechai Segev’s group.  He received his S.B. degree from M.I.T. in 2003 and his Ph.D. from Princeton in 2008, both in physics.  His research centers on complex structures and emergent physical phenomena in photonics, in service of novel or dramatically improved photonic devices.   Recent accomplishments include the first observation of optical topological insulators, as well as strain-induced optical pseudomagnetism in photonic structures.  He is the recipient of the NSERC graduate award, the Fine fellowship and the Azrieli fellowship.  Dr. Rechtsman’s articles have been published in various journals, including Optics Letters, Physical Review Letters, Nature Photonics, Nature Materials, Nature and Science.