Photonic quantum simulators

The mathematical equivalence between the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, which describes, for example, the propagation of electronic wave packets in solids, and the paraxial Helmholtz equation, which describes, among other things, the transport of light in coupled waveguide systems, makes it possible to simulate electronic dynamics optically. This enables direct observation of microscopic quantum processes experimentally.

Each waveguide represents an atom of a solid body. This opens up possibilities that are currently unthinkable in real solids. For example, the coupling of an atom to its neighbours can be specifically varied in space and time.

We exploit this to investigate the influence of topology on transport and have recently shown that topologically protected edge modes can lose their protection due to local variations.

Experimentally, we realize such structures by 3D microprinting  and a re-filtration method developed by us.