Controlling photonic spin Hall effect via exceptional points

Xinxing Zhou, Xiao Lin, Zhicheng Xiao, Tony Low, Andrea Alù, Baile Zhang, Handong Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The photonic spin Hall effect (SHE), featured by a spin-dependent transverse shift of an impinging optical beam driven by its polarization handedness, has many applications including precise metrology and spin-based nanophotonic devices. It is highly desirable to control and enhance the photonic SHE. However, such a goal remains elusive, due to the weak spin-orbit interaction of light, especially for systems with optical loss. Here we reveal a flexible way to modulate the photonic SHE via exceptional points, by exploiting the transverse shift in a parity-time (PT) symmetric system with balanced gain and loss. The underlying physics is associated with the near-zero value and abrupt phase jump of the reflection coefficients at exceptional points. We find that the transverse shift is zero at exceptional points, but it is largely enhanced in their vicinity. Moreover, the transverse shift switches its sign across the exceptional point, resulting from spontaneous PT-symmetry breaking. Due to the sensitivity of transverse shift at exceptional points, our work also indicates that the photonic SHE can enable a precise way to probe the location of exceptional point in photonic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115429
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 18 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor Y. Chong for helpful discussions. This research was supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education through the Academic Research Fund [Tier 1-RG189/17-(s), Tier 1-RG105/16] and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11604095).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Physical Society.


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