Imaginary couplings in non-Hermitian coupled-mode theory: Effects on exceptional points of optical resonators

Kenta Takata, Nathan Roberts, Akihiko Shinya, Masaya Notomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Exceptional point (EP) degeneracies in coupled cavities with gain and loss provide on-chip photonic devices with unconventional features and performance. However, such systems with realistic structures often miss the exact EPs even in simulation, and the mechanism of this EP disruption has yet to be thoroughly identified. Here we extend the coupled-mode theory of one-dimensional non-Hermitian resonator arrays to study the effects of the imaginary part of the intercavity coupling, which is a second-order term and attributed to material amplification, absorption, and radiation. By taking an appropriate gauge for the model, we clarify that the imaginary coupling components have a symmetric form in the effective Hamiltonian and hence represent non-Hermiticity. These additional factors can lift the gain- and loss-based EP degeneracies. However, they are proportional to the sum of the imaginary permittivities for involved cavity pairs. Thus, when the amplification and absorption of adjacent cavities are balanced, their contribution to the imaginary coupling is canceled and the EP singularity can be restored. Radiation-induced imaginary couplings measure the change in net radiation loss by the interference between cavity modes. Their impact on the EP can also be counteracted by small cavity resonance detuning even in loss-biased cases. We show and analyze eligible simulation examples based on photonic crystal nanocavities and highlight the design of an ideal EP degeneracy that is protected by generalized parity-time symmetry and induced by radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA39
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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