Floquet systems provide a platform with significant potential for generating and controlling topological phases of matter. By introducing an external driving field, a topologically trivial system can be driven to topological phases possessing nonzero bulk invariants and associated gapless surface modes. One rich feature of Floquet systems is that, as one moves away from the weak-field regime by increasing the amplitude of the driving field, one can encounter a series of topological transitions which place the system in distinct topological phases. Here we experimentally demonstrate this phenomenon in a photonic system consisting of an array of evanescently coupled helical waveguides. We show that, by moving between the weakly and strongly driven regimes, we can induce a transition in which the bulk topological invariant changes sign and the associated topological edge mode reverses its propagation direction. These two topological phases are part of a larger phase diagram and serve to demonstrate both the rich topological physics present in Floquet systems as well as the accessibility of the strongly driven regime - a regime typically associated with the difficulties of large radiative losses for photonic systems and significant heating for their condensed matter counterparts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics