Giving to CREOL CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics

Optical Imaging and Sensing Faculty Candidate Seminar: "Topological Insulator Lasers” by Miguel A. Bandres

Monday, March 5, 2018 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
CREOL Room 103

Miguel A. Bandres
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology


Inspired by topological insulators in condensed matter, topological photonics is a rapidly-emerging research field in which the topology of the system is exploited to control the behavior of light. This remarkable new phenomenon allows robust unidirectional propagation of light in such a way that defects, strain, or disorder have little effect on optical transport. Topological photonics not only holds great promise for robust photonic devices but also thanks to the flexibility of photonic systems it opens new ways to realize and explore topological physics. So far, most of these activities were carried out in entirely passive, linear, and conservative settings. However, recently, the idea of introducing nonlinearity and non-Hermiticity to topological systems has raised many challenges and fundamental questions.

In this talk, I will present how we propose and experimentally demonstrate [1,2] a fundamentally new approach in exploiting topological effects in a unique way: the topological insulator laser – a laser whose lasing mode is topologically protected. In contrast to Hermitian topological systems, the design of such a laser is highly non-standard – a laser is an open, non-Hermitian (due to gain/loss) and nonlinear (due to gain saturation) system. I will show how the underlying topological properties lead to an efficient laser, robust to defects and disorder, with single mode lasing even at very high gain. The proposed concept not only opens exciting possibilities in topological physics but also paves the way towards active photonic topological devices with unique properties and functionalities.

[1] M.A. Bandres*, S. Wittek*, Gal Harari*, et al., “Topological Insulator Laser Part II: Experiments,” Science, 10.1126/science.aar4005 (2018)

[2] G. Harari*, M.A. Bandres*, et al., “Topological Insulator Laser Part I: Theory,” Science, 10.1126/science.aar4003 (2018)


Miguel A. Bandres is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Prof. Mordechai Segev's group. 

He received his B.S. degree from the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, and his Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) both in Physics. He is the recipient of the Marie Curie Fellowship, the SPIE John Kiel Scholarship, the SPIE Laser Technology Scholarship, and the “Premio Nacional de la Juventud” – the highest public recognition awarded by the Mexican government to outstanding young professionals – among others.

His research centers on finding and observing new fundamental phenomena that allow us to control light in nontrivial ways, such as photonic topological insulators, artificial gauge fields in optics, and non-Hermitian photonics; and studying how these phenomena can be applied to improve or realize new photonic systems such lasers, waveguides, imaging systems and optoelectronic devices.

His accomplishments include, among others, the introduction and generation of new nondiffractive and accelerating beams, and the prediction and observation of the third family of modes of stable laser resonator – the Ince Gaussian beams. His most recent accomplishment is the prediction and experimental observation of the first non-magnetic topological insulator laser.

For additional information:

Shin-Tson Wu

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