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Phys Rev Lett. 2018 Sep 7;121(10):100502. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.100502.

Observation of Topologically Protected Edge States in a Photonic Two-Dimensional Quantum Walk.

Chen C1,2, Ding X1,2, Qin J1,2, He Y1,2, Luo YH1,2, Chen MC1,2, Liu C1,2, Wang XL3, Zhang WJ3, Li H3, You LX3, Wang Z3, Wang DW4, Sanders BC1,2,5,6, Lu CY1,2, Pan JW1,2.

Author information

1
Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale and Department of Modern Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai Branch, Shanghai 201315, China.
2
CAS-Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory, CAS Centre for Excellence in Quantum Information and Quantum Physics, Shanghai 201315, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Functional Materials for Informatics, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT).
4
Department of Physics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, China.
5
Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, University of Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada.
6
Program in Quantum Information Science, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8, Canada.

Abstract

Periodically driven systems have displayed a variety of fascinating phenomena without analogies in static systems, which enrich the classification of quantum phases of matter and stimulate a wide range of research interests. Here, we employ discrete-time quantum walks to investigate a nontrivial topological effect unique to a two-dimensional periodically driven system: chiral edge states can exist at the interface of Floquet insulators whose Chern numbers vanish. Thanks to a resource-saving and flexible fiber-loop architecture, we realize inhomogeneous two-dimensional quantum walks up to 25 steps, over an effective 51×51 lattice with tunable local parameters. Spin-polarized chiral edge states are observed at the boundary of two distinct quantum walk domains. Our results contribute to establishing a well-controlled platform for exploring nontrivial topological phases.

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