In recent years, the concept of parity-time (PT) symmetry has received considerable attention in the field of optics and photonics. In PT-symmetric arrangements, the interaction between gain/loss-contrast and coupling leads to the formation of exceptional points in parameter space. At these junctures, not only the eigenvalues but also the eigenvectors tend to merge, resulting in a sudden reduction of the dimensionality of the eigen-space. Consequently, in the vicinity of such points, the eigenfrequencies are strongly affected by external perturbationsas the system regains its original dimensionality. This unique behavior can be utilized to fundamentally enhance the sensitivity of micro-resonators. Here, we experimentally investigate this effect in integrated semiconductor PT-symmetric microring lasers that are biased at exceptional points. Using this arrangement, we demonstrate >10- fold enhancement in sensitivity. Our results also show that unlike standard microcavities, the parity-time symmetric system responds to the square-root of the perturbation. Our work provides a new avenue for enhancing the sensitivity of optical integrated sensors.
H. Hodaei, A. U. Hassan, H. Garcia-Gracia, W. E. Hayenga, D. N. Christodoulides, and M. Khajavikhan, "Enhanced sensitivity in PT-symmetric coupled resonators," Proc. SPIE 10090, Laser Resonators, Microresonators, and Beam Control XIX, 100901C (Presented at SPIE LASE: February 01, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250047.
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