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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Photonic Aharonov–Bohm effect in photon–phonon interactions


The Aharonov–Bohm effect is one of the most intriguing phenomena in both classical and quantum physics, and associates with a number of important and fundamental issues in quantum mechanics. The Aharonov–Bohm effects of charged particles have been experimentally demonstrated and found applications in various fields. Recently, attention has also focused on the Aharonov–Bohm effect for neutral particles, such as photons. Here we propose to utilize the photon–phonon interactions to demonstrate that photonic Aharonov–Bohm effects do exist for photons. By introducing nonreciprocal phases for photons, we observe experimentally a gauge potential for photons in the visible range based on the photon–phonon interactions in acousto-optic crystals, and demonstrate the photonic Aharonov–Bohm effect. The results presented here point to new possibilities to control and manipulate photons by designing an effective gauge potential. The Aharonov–Bohm effect describes the influence of an electromagnetic vector potential on the phase of a charged particle. Here, Li et al. demonstrate that photon–phonon interactions can lead to the Aharonov–Bohm effect also for the electrically neutral photons.