Photonic quantum simulations of SSH-type topological insulators with perfect state transfer

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Journal Article
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Topological insulators could profoundly impact the fields of spintronics, quantum computing and low-power electronics. To enable investigations of these non-trivial phases of matter beyond the reach of present-day experiments, quantum simulations provide tools to exactly engineer the model system and measure the dynamics with single site resolution. Nonetheless, novel methods for investigating topological materials are needed, as typical approaches that assume translational invariance are irrelevant to quasi-crystals and more general non-crystalline structures. Here we show the quantum simulation of a non-crystalline topological insulator using multi-photon interference. The system belongs to the same chiral orthogonal symmetry class as the SSH model, and is characterised by algebraically decaying edge states. In addition, our simulations reveal that the Hamiltonian describing the system facilitates perfect quantum state transfer of any arbitrary edge state. We provide a proof-of-concept experiment based on a generalised Hong-Ou-Mandel effect, where photon-number states impinge on a variable coupler.
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