Hidden-symmetry-enforced nexus points of nodal lines in layer-stacked dielectric photonic crystals

14 Mar 2020  ·  Zhongfei Xiong, Ruo-Yang Zhang, Rui Yu, C. T. Chan, Yuntian Chen ·

It was recently demonstrated that the connectivities of bands emerging from zero frequency in dielectric photonic crystals are distinct from their electronic counterparts with the same space groups. We discover that, in an AB-layer-stacked photonic crystal composed of anisotropic dielectrics, the unique photonic band connectivity leads to a new kind of symmetry-enforced triply degenerate points at the nexuses of two nodal rings and a Kramers-like nodal line. The emergence and intersection of the line nodes are guaranteed by a generalized 1/4-period screw rotation symmetry of Maxwell's equations. The bands with a constant $k_z$ and iso-frequency surfaces near a nexus point both disperse as a spin-1 Dirac-like cone, giving rise to exotic transport features of light at the nexus point. We show that the spin-1 conical diffraction occurs at the nexus point which can be used to manipulate the charges of optical vortices. Our work reveals that Maxwell's equations can have hidden symmetries induced by the fractional periodicity of the material tensor components and hence paves the way to finding novel topological nodal structures unique to photonic systems.

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Optics Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics