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Are Gaseous Plasmon Polaritons Topologically Protected?


Topological Band theory has garnered much attention in the solid state and condensed matter physics community in recent years. However, recent work has shown the potential of identifying topological behavior in gaseous media, namely in plasmas. In a cold, cylindrical plasma column under an external magnetic field, we expect to find a topologically-protected edge mode analogous to that in the integer Quantum Hall effect, known as a Gaseous Plasmon Polariton (GPP). Previous work has simulated these surface waves as being topologically protected under an ideal plasma-vacuum interface, but the behavior under more realistic density profiles remains unexplored. In order to support ongoing research in this area, we devised a computational model of a cylindrical plasma column, focusing on a 2-dimensional domain at fixed k_z. Using the Dedalus spectral code, we solved for the plasma’s spectrum and identified the topological surface wave. By integrating this problem, we can visualize the wave traveling unidirectionally around the plasma-vacuum interface, and observe that it exhibits topological protection when encountering surface perturbations. We discuss considerations when extending this to the fully three-dimensional domain, and outline further computational and experimental possibilities aimed at studying the properties of topological phenomena in plasma.

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Joseph B Hall, "Are Gaseous Plasmon Polaritons Topologically Protected?" (2021). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.


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  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …