Control over light propagation and localization in photonic crystals offers wide applications ranging from sensing and on-chip routing to lasing and quantum light–matter interfaces. Although in electronic crystals, magnetic fields can be used to induce a multitude of unique phenomena, the uncharged nature of photons necessitates alternative approaches to bring about similar control over photons at the nanoscale. Here we experimentally realize pseudomagnetic fields in two-dimensional photonic crystals through engineered strain of the lattice. Analogous to strained graphene, this induces flat-band Landau levels at discrete energies. We study the spatial and spectral properties of these states in silicon photonic crystals at telecom wavelengths with far-field spectroscopy. Moreover, taking advantage of the photonic crystal’s design freedom, we realize domains of opposite pseudomagnetic field and observe chiral edge states at their interface. We reveal that the strain-induced states can achieve remarkably high quality factors despite being phase matched to the radiation continuum. Together with the high density of states and high degeneracy associated with flat bands, this provides powerful prospects for enhancing light–matter interactions, and illustrates the broad potential of psdeudomagnetic fields in the nanophotonic domain. This work, thus, establishes a new design principle to govern both on-chip and radiating light fields.

Springer Nature
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) , European Research Council (ERC)
Nat. Photon.
Photonic Forces

Barczyk, R., Kuipers, K., & Verhagen, E. (2024). Observation of Landau levels and chiral edge states in photonic crystals through pseudomagnetic fields induced by synthetic strain. Nat. Photon., 18, 574–579. doi:10.1038/s41566-024-01412-3