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Classical Simulation of Relativistic Zitterbewegung in Photonic Lattices

: Dreisow, F.; Heinrich, M.; Keil, R.; Tünnermann, A.; Nolte, S.; Longhi, S.; Szameit, A.


Physical review letters 105 (2010), No.14, Art. 143902, 4 pp.
ISSN: 0031-9007
ISSN: 1079-7114
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()
wave-guide array; optical bloch oscillation

We present the first experimental realization of an optical analog for relativistic quantum mechanics by simulating the Zitterbewegung (trembling motion) of a free Dirac electron in an optical superlattice. Our photonic setting enables a direct visualization of Zitterbewegung as a spatial oscillatory motion of an optical beam. Direct measurements of the wave packet expectation values in superlattices with tuned miniband gaps clearly show the transition from weak-relativistic to relativistic and far-relativistic regimes.