Fluids of light

Welcome to the website of Alberto Amo García, CNRS researcher at Laboratoire Phlam at the University of Lille. Nonlinearities in semiconductor and dielectric materials modify the properties of light to the point of making it behave as a dense fluid. Vortices, solitons, shock waves, turbulence or superfluidity are some of the most remarkable phenomena accessible in fluids of light. Microcavity polaritons is an excellent platform to study these phenomena (it is in this system that the first observation of superfluidity of light was observed). Polaritons are mixed quasiparticles arising from the strong coupling between semiconductor quantum-well excitons and photons confined in a micrometre size cavity. They present extraordinary nonlinearities thanks to their matter part, while their photonic part allows confinement in lattices with controlled geometry and hoping from site to site, opening the way to the study of nonlinearities, turbulence and topology using photons.




Topology describes properties of a physical system that remain unaffected by distortion. The most straightforward example is the “genus”: the number of holes of an object, which is preserved under smooth deformations. The translation of these ideas to the electronic properties of materials can explain the chiral edge transport in the quantum Hall effect or the emergence of topological insulators. Applied to photonic systems, it provides a route towards photonic transport inmune to scattering.

The main goal of the honeypol project is the experimental study of linear and nonlineal effects in polariton lattices with topological properties. We have particularly addressed the physics of the honeycomb lattice, and we have demonstrated the existence of edge states connected to the properties of the bulk. This is one of the hallmarks of topology. Future work goes in the direction of addressing orbital bands, lasing effects, anomalous transport, spontaneous symmetry breaking…

Selected publications