Institut für Physik - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Max-Born-Institut

K. Tschernig, R. de J. Leon-Montiel, A. Perez-Leija, and K. Busch (2020)

Photonics Research 8:1161

Activating transitions between internal states of physical systems has emerged as an appealing approach to create lattices and complex networks. In such a scheme, the internal states or modes of a physical system are regarded as lattice sites or network nodes in an abstract space whose dimensionality may exceed the systems’ apparent (geometric) dimensionality. This introduces the notion of synthetic dimensions, thus providing entirely novel pathways for fundamental research and applications. Here, we analytically show that the propagation of multiphoton states through multiport waveguide arrays gives rise to synthetic dimensions where a single waveguide system generates a multitude of synthetic lattices. Since these synthetic lattices exist in photon-number space, we introduce the concept of pseudo-energy and demonstrate its utility for studying multiphoton interference processes. Specifically, the spectrum of the associated pseudo-energy operator generates a unique ordering of the relevant states. Together with generalized pseudo-energy ladder operators, this allows for representing the dynamics of multiphoton states by way of pseudo-energy term diagrams that are associated with a synthetic atom. As a result, the pseudo-energy representation leads to concise analytical expressions for the eigensystem of *N* photons propagating through*M* nearest-neighbor coupled waveguides. In the regime where *N* >= 2 and*M *>= 3, nonlocal coupling in Fock space gives rise to hitherto unknown all-optical dark states that display intriguing nontrivial dynamics.