Abstract

Typical parity-time (PT) symmetric structures switch from the unbroken to the broken phase when gain increases through an exceptional point. In contrast, we report on systems with the unusual, reverse behavior, where the symmetric phase is recovered after a broken phase. We study this phenomenon analytically and numerically in the simplest possible system, consisting of four coupled modes, and we present potential dielectric and plasmonic implementations. The complex mode merging scheme, with two distinct unbroken PT phases encompassing a broken one, appears for a specific proportion range of the coupling constants. This regime with “inverse” exceptional points is interesting for the design of novel PT devices.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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