Topological reflection matrix

S. Franca, F. Hassler, and I. C. Fulga

Abstract

While periodically driven phases offer a unique insight into nonequilibrium topology that is richer than its static counterpart, their experimental realization is often hindered by ubiquitous decoherence effects. Recently, we have proposed a decoherence-free approach of realizing these Floquet phases. The central insight is that the reflection matrix, being unitary for a bulk insulator, plays the role of a Floquet time-evolution operator. We have shown that reflection processes off the boundaries of systems supporting higher-order topological phases (HOTPs) simulate nontrivial Floquet phases. So far, this method was shown to work for one-dimensional Floquet topological phases protected by local symmetries. Here, we extend the range of applicability by studying reflection off three-dimensional HOTPs with corner and hinge modes. We show that the reflection processes can simulate both first-order and second-order Floquet phases, protected by a combination of local and spatial symmetries. For every phase, we discuss appropriate topological invariants calculated with the nested scattering matrix method.

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