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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 May 3;110(18):184102. Epub 2013 May 2.

Observing geometric frustration with thousands of coupled lasers.

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1
Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

Abstract

Geometric frustration, the inability of an ordered system to find a unique ground state plays a key role in a wide range of systems. We present a new experimental approach to observe large-scale geometric frustration with 1500 negatively coupled lasers arranged in a kagome lattice. We show how dissipation drives the lasers into a phase-locked state that directly maps to the classical XY spin Hamiltonian ground state. In our system, frustration is manifested by the lack of long range phase ordering. Finally, we show how next-nearest-neighbor coupling removes frustration and restores order.

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