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Title: Reflectionless excitation of arbitrary photonic structures: a general theory
Abstract We outline and interpret a recently developed theory of impedance matching or reflectionless excitation of arbitrary finite photonic structures in any dimension. The theory includes both the case of guided wave and free-space excitation. It describes the necessary and sufficient conditions for perfectly reflectionless excitation to be possible and specifies how many physical parameters must be tuned to achieve this. In the absence of geometric symmetries, such as parity and time-reversal, the product of parity and time-reversal, or rotational symmetry, the tuning of at least one structural parameter will be necessary to achieve reflectionless excitation. The theory employs a recently identified set of complex frequency solutions of the Maxwell equations as a starting point, which are defined by having zero reflection into a chosen set of input channels, and which are referred to as R-zeros. Tuning is generically necessary in order to move an R-zero to the real frequency axis, where it becomes a physical steady-state impedance-matched solution, which we refer to as a reflectionless scattering mode (RSM). In addition, except in single-channel systems, the RSM corresponds to a particular input wavefront, and any other wavefront will generally not be reflectionless. It is useful to consider the theory as representing a generalization of the concept of critical coupling of a resonator, but it holds in arbitrary dimension, for arbitrary number of channels, and even when resonances are not spectrally isolated. In a structure with parity and time-reversal symmetry (a real dielectric function) or with parity–time symmetry, generically a subset of the R-zeros has real frequencies, and reflectionless states exist at discrete frequencies without tuning. However, they do not exist within every spectral range, as they do in the special case of the Fabry–Pérot or two-mirror resonator, due to a spontaneous symmetry-breaking phenomenon when two RSMs meet. Such symmetry-breaking transitions correspond to a new kind of exceptional point, only recently identified, at which the shape of the reflection and transmission resonance lineshape is flattened. Numerical examples of RSMs are given for one-dimensional multimirror cavities, a two-dimensional multiwaveguide junction, and a multimode waveguide functioning as a perfect mode converter. Two solution methods to find R-zeros and RSMs are discussed. The first one is a straightforward generalization of the complex scaling or perfectly matched layer method and is applicable in a number of important cases; the second one involves a mode-specific boundary matching method that has only recently been demonstrated and can be applied to all geometries for which the theory is valid, including free space and multimode waveguide problems of the type solved here.  more » « less
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Page Range / eLocation ID:
343 to 360
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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