Topological states enable robust signal propagation within disorder-rich media. These states are defined by integer invariants inextricably tied to the transmission of light, sound, or electrons. However, a challenge remains to exploit topological protection inside a scalable communications platform. Here we use both modelling and experiments to realise photonic crystal fibre that supports topologically protected supermodes. Our fibre exhibits topological guidance for visible light over metre scales, millions of times longer than the wavelength, in contrast to size-limited planar devices and resonance-based metamaterials. We directly measure the photonic winding-number invariant in the bulk and observe the associated boundary modes predicted to exist by bulk-boundary correspondence. By bending this fibre, we reversibly reconfigure its topological states using transverse strain. Future technologies could exploit our scalable fibre platform for topological robustness inherited by lasing modes and entangled quantum states.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadd3522
Number of pages13
JournalScience Advances
Issue number51
Early online date21 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: A.S. acknowledges the support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through New Investigator award no. EP/T000961/1 and of the Royal Society under grant no. RGS/R2/202135. P.J.M. and J.N. are supported by the U.K. Hub in Quantum Computing and Simulation, part of the U.K. National Quantum Technologies Programme with funding from UKRI EPSRC Grant EP/T001062/1. This material is based on work supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award number FA8655-22-1-7028.

Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Raw experimental data and corresponding simulation data are available on Zenodo at DOI 10.5281/zenodo.7085818 under an MIT license.


  • physics.optics
  • cond-mat.mes-hall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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