Student contribution: In recent years, non-Hermitian degeneracies, also known as exceptional points (EPs), have emerged as a new paradigm for engineering the response of optical systems. This class of degeneracies represents points in parameter space where the eigenvalues and their corresponding eigenvectors simultaneously coalesce [1,2]. Among the large set of non-conservative photonic systems, parity-time (PT) symmetric arrangements are of particular interest since they provide an excellent platform to study the physics and properties of non-Hermitian degeneracies [3,4]. So far, the abrupt nature of the phase transitions at EPs has led to a number of new functionalities such as loss-induced transparency , unidirectional invisibility [6,7], and single mode lasing [8-11]. In addition, it has been suggested that the bifurcation properties associated with second-order exceptional points can be utilized to achieve enhanced sensitivity in micro-resonator arrangements . Of interest is to use even higher-order exceptional points that in principle could further amplify the effect of perturbations. While such higher-order singularities have been theoretically studied in a number of recent works [13,14], their experimental realization in the optical domain has so far remained out of reach. In this paper, for the first time, we show the emergence of third order exceptional points in ternary parity-time-symmetric coupled resonator lasers by judiciously designing the gain/loss distribution and coupling strengths following a recursive bosonic quantization procedure. Subsequently, the nature of the third order exceptional point is confirmed through the cubic root response of this ternary system to external perturbations. Our work may pave the way towards the utilization of higher order exceptional points in designing ultrasensitive photonic arrangements.
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