Topological insulator laser: Experiments

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Physical systems exhibiting topological invariants are naturally endowed with robustness against perturbations, as manifested in topological insulators—materials exhibiting robust electron transport, immune from scattering by defects and disorder. Recent years have witnessed intense efforts toward exploiting these phenomena in photonics. Here we demonstrate a nonmagnetic topological insulator laser system exhibiting topologically protected transport in the cavity. Its topological properties give rise to single-mode lasing, robustness against defects, and considerably higher slope efficiencies compared to the topologically trivial counterparts. We further exploit the properties of active topological platforms by assembling the system from S-chiral microresonators, enforcing predetermined unidirectional lasing without magnetic fields. This work paves the way toward active topological devices with exciting properties and functionalities.

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