Designing non-Hermitian real spectra through electrostatics

Yang, Russell; Tan, Jun Wei; Tai, Tommy; Koh, Jin Ming ; Li, Linhu ; Longhi, Stefano ; Lee, Ching Hua
Science Bulletin 67, 1865-1873 (2022)

Non-hermiticity presents a vast newly opened territory that harbors new physics and applications such as lasing and sensing. However, only non-Hermitian systems with real eigenenergies are stable, and great efforts have been devoted in designing them through enforcing parity-time (PT) symmetry. In this work, we exploit a lesser-known dynamical mechanism for enforcing real-spectra, and develop a comprehensive and versatile approach for designing new classes of parent Hamiltonians with real spectra. Our design approach is based on a new electrostatics analogy for modified non-Hermitian bulk-boundary correspondence, where electrostatic charge corresponds to density of states and electric fields correspond to complex spectral flow. As such, Hamiltonians of any desired spectra and state localization profile can be reverse-engineered, particularly those without any guiding symmetry principles. By recasting the diagonalization of non-Hermitian Hamiltonians as a Poisson boundary value problem, our electrostatics analogy also transcends the gain/loss-induced compounding of floating-point errors in traditional numerical methods, thereby allowing access to far larger system sizes.

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