Topological Polaritons

The interaction between light and matter can give rise to novel topological states. This principle was recently exemplified in Floquet topological insulators, where classical light was used to induce a topological electronic band structure. Here, in contrast, we show that mixing single photons with excitons can result in new topological polaritonic states—or “topolaritons.”

Taken separately, the underlying photons and excitons are topologically trivial. Combined appropriately, however, they give rise to nontrivial polaritonic bands with chiral edge modes allowing for unidirectional polariton propagation. The main ingredient in our construction is an exciton-photon coupling with a phase that winds in momentum space. We demonstrate how this winding emerges from the finite-momentum mixing between s-type and p-type bands in the electronic system and an applied Zeeman field. We discuss the requirements for obtaining a sizable topological gap in the polariton spectrum and propose practical ways to realize topolaritons in semiconductor quantum wells and monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides.

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