Abstract

We map the topological properties of a one-dimensional Kronig–Penny + sinusoidal superlattice to the optical properties of an electronic system. We find that the nonlinear-optical response is optimized for electrons that live in the transitional morphology between topologically protected edge states and delocalized eigenstates. This provides a novel means of tuning any nonlinear-optical response of a hybrid quantum system, which we demonstrate for the important examples of second- and third-harmonic generation, and the optical Kerr effect. We show how these characteristics can be used to mimic saturable absorption and illustrate how “quantum cords” can be used to build an efficient all-optical switch.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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