Reflection-free one-way edge modes in a gyromagnetic photonic crystal

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Jan 11;100(1):013905. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.013905. Epub 2008 Jan 10.


We point out that electromagnetic one-way edge modes analogous to quantum Hall edge states, originally predicted by Raghu and Haldane in 2D photonic crystals possessing Dirac point-derived band gaps, can appear in more general settings. We show that the TM modes in a gyromagnetic photonic crystal can be formally mapped to electronic wave functions in a periodic electromagnetic field, so that the only requirement for the existence of one-way edge modes is that the Chern number for all bands below a gap is nonzero. In a square-lattice yttrium-iron-garnet crystal operating at microwave frequencies, which lacks Dirac points, time-reversal breaking is strong enough that the effect should be easily observable. For realistic material parameters, the edge modes occupy a 10% band gap. Numerical simulations of a one-way waveguide incorporating this crystal show 100% transmission across strong defects.