Creating boundaries along a synthetic frequency dimension

Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 13;13(1):3377. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31140-7.


Synthetic dimensions have garnered widespread interest for implementing high dimensional classical and quantum dynamics on low-dimensional geometries. Synthetic frequency dimensions, in particular, have been used to experimentally realize a plethora of bulk physics effects. However, in synthetic frequency dimension there has not been a demonstration of a boundary which is of paramount importance in topological physics due to the bulk-edge correspondence. Here we construct boundaries in the frequency dimension of dynamically modulated ring resonators by strongly coupling an auxiliary ring. We explore various effects associated with such boundaries, including confinement of the spectrum of light, discretization of the band structure, and the interaction of boundaries with one-way chiral modes in a quantum Hall ladder, which exhibits topologically robust spectral transport. Our demonstration of sharp boundaries fundamentally expands the capability of exploring topological physics, and has applications in classical and quantum information processing in synthetic frequency dimensions.