Photonic Nambu-Goldstone bosons.
We study numerically the spatial dynamics of light in periodic square lattices in the presence of a Kerr term, emphasizing the peculiarities stemming from the nonlinearity. We find that, under rather general circumstances, the phase pattern of the stable ground state depends on the character of the nonlinearity: the phase is spatially uniform if it is defocusing whereas in the focusing case, it presents a chess board pattern, with a difference of $\pi$ between neighboring sites. We show that the lowest lying perturbative excitations can be described as perturbations of the phase and that finite-sized structures can act as tunable metawaveguides for them. The tuning is made by varying the intensity of the light that, because of the nonlinearity, affects the dynamics of the phase fluctuations. We interpret the results using methods of condensed matter physics, based on an effective description of the optical system. This interpretation sheds new light on the phenomena, facilitating the understanding of individual systems and leading to a framework for relating different problems with the same symmetry. In this context, we show that the perturbative excitations of the phase are Nambu-Goldstone bosons of a spontaneously broken $U(1)$ symmetry.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1707.02213